The Hidden Challenges for the Legal Sector in 2020

legal-sector-challenges-2020New contribution from James Moore regarding some of the hidden (and, for some, not-so-hidden) challenges for the legal sector in 2020. You may also be interested in our editor’s blog on some of the greatest legal sector challenges as envisaged in 2017 here

No one in the legal sector has a crystal ball or Magic 8 ball that can point them away from danger or risk. That doesn’t mean we can’t use the data and information already there to look at what insights can be gleaned to help us have some idea of what the future holds.

In this short post, we’re going to look at some of the hidden challenges the sector can, will and may face as we look towards 2020. We may not have 20-20 vision, but we hopefully have enough of an idea of what’s on the horizon.

Lawyers will have to appear human

Sounds a little odd to say we should be more human, right? When it comes to marketing online, the next few years will see a drastic shift towards conversational language being used on websites. Why is this happening?

Because Google, Alexa and other search companies want to push voice search as a means of marketing. We’re all prone to sticking to highly specific language in how we market our sites and companies, but the average person seeking out legal services won’t be searching in the same manner.

As Moore Legal pointed out in a recent marketing post, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella says, “…we must take account of how people think and speak when building online business generation platforms.”

This means we may have to optimise the services provided on websites in layman’s terms and try to match voice search.

Ethics will see small enterprise growth in countries ripe for development

Prepare to hear much more about investments in new micro, small and medium enterprises in countries, especially in the likes of Cambodia.

Asian equity specialists Goodwin Law point out that more investors are looking to create positive impressions on a micro level as a means to help develop the legal sector in countries where there has been a lack of depth in this area for decades.

We will see ethical investment become the norm, with an onus on companies growing their footprint in specific countries.

Brexit will finally kick in (whether we like it or not)

At the time of writing, October 31st is still the expected date for Brexit to take place. Many in the legal sector (especially commercial lawyers) are waiting tentatively as we’re essentially waiting to see how this all unravels before being able to provide clear legal advice to clients on a range of issues.

The par for the course approach many firms are taking will only go so far, and if you’re being hit with questions of what happens stepping into the unknown, needing more than “we just have to wait and see” in response means clients will need a plan for 2020 and beyond.

This means bringing up potential and highly likely negatives, what minimal damage should be expected and what can’t be avoided when newly created legal challenges crop up.

Automation is pushing through

We often think of automation affecting those in the world of manufacturing, but the truth is that next year may see greater onus being put on legal tech finally making in-roads.

Software has evolved to improve the document review process, simplified contract production in a post GDPR world and the use of chatbots is helping the average consumer quicker access to a range of services – imagine the loss of potential clients for car claims simply because a competitor’s chatbot can work out potential rewards faster than a human.

Legal tech is still in its infancy, but there’s no doubt it will impact on legal business and commercial transactions as we move to the next decade. For example, drones are being used to analyse and re-model the ever-evolving plans for the HS2 line in the UK to better price everything from the legal implications of land procurement to how it affects those city centre businesses surrounding what will be travel hubs.

We’re not letting computers take over just yet, but the value can’t remain underestimated by those in the legal sector.

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