The legal industry, like every industry, has been forced to quickly adapt to the “new normal” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and legal technology has been at the center of this reshuffling. While technology has proven to be a valuable resource and has allowed the legal field to remain functional, the priorities that legal professionals have for technology continue to shift.
Bloomberg Law conducted legal technology surveys in 2020, 2021, and 2022 that have highlighted key trends in how law firms and legal departments measure and determine the value of legal tech.
Among the top considerations for how tech is valuated in the legal industry are:
- the time attorneys spend on routine tasks
- feedback on the actual tech being used and whether or not it’s providing value
- the ability of the tech to allow for remote work opportunities
- whether or not the tech improves the well-being of attorneys
- the cost of the tech
- the actual value of the tech
The time attorneys spent on routine tasks that could be lessened with the use of technology remained relatively consistently important throughout all three years of the survey.
While feedback was the second most considered factor in 2020 (47%), it dropped down to third in 2021 (33%), and was back up to second again in 2022 (35%).
Meanwhile, more than half of 2021 respondents considered the ability of legal tech to allow for remote work opportunities a priority in measuring its value. But by 2022, remote work had completely dropped out of the top 10 considerations, decreasing dramatically from 56% to 14%. Whether this drop is due to the fact that more attorneys are returning to the office or because they have just mastered working from home to the point that it is no longer necessary to consider is anyone’s guess.
Similar to remote work considerations, the importance of whether legal tech improves the well-being of attorneys fell considerably over the past year. It went from being one of the top considerations for respondents in 2021 (26%)—which was a marked increase over 2020 (17%)—to falling all the way down to 15% in 2022, indicating that the societal push to prioritize well-being and self-care that had gained momentum from the onset of the pandemic in early 2020 through 2021 has likely abated.
Finally, 45% of 2022 respondents cite cost as something their organization measures to determine the value of the legal tech they’re using, and 20% reported that the return on investment (ROI) of the legal tech is used to valuate it. Neither of these were major considerations in years prior, indicating that now that the pandemic seems to be at an end, people are beginning to focus less on the spread of the disease and more on the economic costs of it as it relates to everything, including legal tech.