Law firms are actively investing in new technologies, and undergoing significant yet gradual changes, according to the Australian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA).
The ‘Impact of the Changing Legal Landscape on Australasian Law Firms 2014’ is a collaborative study between ALPMA and legal research group LexisNexis.
This particular research examines key changes impacting on law firms in Australia and how firms intend to respond to these changes over the next year. The report will be formally presented at the summit on August 28, and results will be distributed to participants.
Below are some of the key findings announced by ALPMA president, Andrew Barnes:
1. Consumer Demands are Changing
Survey results suggest that increasing customer demands for better value is the primary factor driving changes within the law profession. In a survey of 122 firms across Australia 80% of respondents said that these pressures are driving both positive and negative changes.
Despite this, only 18% of firms reported a major focus in changes to price strategies. This figure increases to 25% for larger firms. Andrew Barnes suggests that this reflects a shift in power toward clients and changes to the traditional law firm model.
2. Firms are Investing in New Technologies
Over 50% of firms are making major investments in new technology, according to the study. The highest investments are being made in workflow, mobility and customer relationship management technologies.
Executive Manager at LexisNexis James Parker said that the legal profession is undergoing unprecedented change on a global scale.
“With customers increasingly demanding better value for money, and employees looking for work life balance, it is no surprise that law firms across the board are turning to technology to help deliver the productivity and efficiency gains that they need in order to stay competitive.”
3. Firms are Satisfied with Gradual Change
Law firms are making changes at a gradual pace, with a majority of initiatives being in progress or in the planning stages. For example, while 59% are continuing to invest in growth strategies, only 2% have completed growth-related initiatives.
A majority of law firms (58%) are satisfied with the rate of progress made in their firm has made in respond to industry changes.
Overall, a majority of Australian law firms are optimistic about the future, with 72% of respondents feeling confident in their firm’s leadership ability. This number has increased from 63% in 2013. Over the next 3-5 years, most companies in the industry forecast continued growth, profitability and improvements in the firm culture.
The full report from the survey will be available from the LexisNexis stand at the ALPMA summit.
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