In light of digitization, increasing specialization and fragmentation, the legal sector is undergoing fundamental changes. Since 2015, we have discussed and analyzed market developments with hundreds of managing partners, general counsels, executives and academics from different countries. All these findings have been taken into account when we created Digitorney’s vision which in a nutshell is as follows:
We clearly see that times are changing and challenging for the legal practice. Fees are under pressure more than ever before. Companies increasingly demand alternative fee arrangements which means that caps, lump sum fees and blended rates play an incremental role while the hourly billing model gets under pressure. Against this backdrop, we expect the following:
- Document automation will replace lawyers when it comes to standard legal documents such as NDAs, labour contracts, loan agreements and bond documentations. As a consequence, lump sum fees or subscription models become standard for many legal services.
- Blockchain gets important: secure communications, proofs of receipt and payments of legal fees will increasingly be settled via blockchain applications.
- Artificial intelligence will be increasingly important for analytics of standard contracts and structuring of internal legal data.
- Chatbots come into play when companies require quick answers to standard questions without a complex description of the individual case.
- Robotics will be decisive also for legal work: legal documents will be created more and more by way of automated drafting tools including semantic text analysis and legal data feed from various sources.
- Big data and data analytics will be a key factor: for instance, if we know how long it takes to implement certain transactions in certain countries or regions and which legal hurdles typically occur there, this allows for better strategic decisions.
- Digital collaboration platforms with integrated applications in the aforementioned fields (e.g. artificial intelligence, document automation) will be the organizational and technical umbrella for lawyers and general counsels.
At the same time, human skills like creativity, empathy and improvisation will never be substitutable by software. Especially business law matters show a high degree of individual solutions which can only be managed by human beings.
Lawyers are able to take decisions based on empathy, gut feelings and pure experience which also comprises of negotiation skills that can and will never be replaced by software. Fees and hourly rates for the core services of international business lawyers are not the problem and should not be questioned by legal tech newcomers into the law market.
Legal tech should bring lawyers and their clients together in a faster and easier way. Furthermore, it should enable law professionals to deliver their valuable advice exactly in their core field of business. Additional costs, like drafting of standard documents, can and should be reduced, not hourly rates for core advice services.
In this context, Digitorney’s market place combines state-of-the-art legal tech solutions with digital-based lawyer search and fact finding. In this manner, we build the bridge between human-centric legal advisory and the digital world. We strongly believe that this is the future of business law — and that’s what Digitorney stands for.
>> Learn more about how to invest in Digitorney: www.digitorney.io