Australian law firms at the forefront of new technology adoption

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A legal technology expert with business in Australia and the US says Aussie firms are trumping their US counterparts when it comes to embracing new technology.
 

Caseflow CEO Brian Smith told Australasian Lawyer that in Australia, he estimates 30-40% embrace the idea that workflow-related technology needs to be actively and continually assessed and upgraded in a changing market.
 
In contrast, he cited a recent US study that found 85% of firms indicated they recognised a need to improve their overall project management technology and efficiency, but only 13% were actually doing something about it.
 
“We are not that bad – we have a much higher take-up rate which is increasing,” Smith says.
 
Australia is also “holding its own” against the UK, he says, with both jurisdictions leading when it came to increasing efficiency and productivity by utilising new upgrades in technology for project and matter management.
 
With large ‘mega firms’ in Australia vying for more market share, pressure on the mid-level is driving technology growth in that segment, he says.
 
“They are responding in an innovative way; they can change a lot quicker, so some mid-level firms are saying, ‘we can use size to our advantage because we can put things in place quicker than the other guys’.”
 
Smith says 20 years ago it was a challenge to convince law firm leaders that technology should form a percentage of annual turnover – but it’s a battle now won.
 
However, with the landscape changing so rapidly, firms now have to increase that investment not only in hardware but in continually upgrading software, to ensure that it is keeping up with the pace of competition.
 
“Previously you could implement practice management or document management software and it could last ten or fifteen years without a lot of attention,” Smith says.
 
“Now the way things like workflow can change is ultra-dynamic and firms need to find ways to budget for that and give people the support they need.”

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