According to our survey among legal tech experts world wide, half of all participants think that law firms will not be competitive anymore if they do not use AI solutions, as the following chart shows:
This result is interesting considering the evaluation regarding the digital transformation of the legal sector in 2019. While 86% of all respondents agree that by the end of this year the legal sector will be partially transformed, only half think that law firms without an AI solution in place will not be competitive anymore. The reason for this might suggest the adaption process of legal tech solutions within companies. A cultural shift, as well as the right in-house talent, is needed to properly implement AI solutions. Furthermore, many companies are not "tech giants" themselves, so they do not depose of firms that are not. The rise of the boutique law firm (collection of attorneys organized in a limited liability partnership), might be another possible reason. Often, these firms have neither the talent or the capital to make immediate use of legal tech, so they are winning and keeping clients based on reasonable pricing. In our opinion, this is only a matter of time until they feel the need to become tech-savvy and efficient as well as not to lose their competitive edge.
Our interpretation of this data is that the digital transformation goes quickly, but it takes some companies longer time to adapt and implement all new technologies; hence it is not as remarkable on the competition angle yet. But we are pretty confident that this chart will look a lot different for 2020 when most of the companies who are not using legal technology will have missed out compared to their competition.
For Artificial Lawyer, who published the results of ayfie's Legal Tech Trends Report, "this is probably the most significant finding because it boils down to a strategic and market competition issue, i.e. will late adopters, or low level adopters, see a competitive disadvantage? In this case it refers to the need this year, but on a longer time scale it’s interesting to consider how rapidly those numbers will change."