What are law firms' strategic priorities for 2022?

LPM’s annual Frontiers Report looks at SME law firm’s current challenges and strategic priorities and how technology is used to support future goals. Discover how technology investments are being made in this year’s 2022 edition as well as attitudes towards hybrid-working, technology budgets, and firm’s automation plans.

Over a third of SMEs (37%) said that ‘doing legal work quicker’ has the most potential for greater automation to drive efficiencies. Reducing manual administrative tasks, introducing workflow automation to decrease workloads, and removing the reliance on support staff will inevitably improve efficiencies whilst positively impacting the firm’s bottom-line and client experience.

However, the benefits of legal software solutions go beyond ‘making tasks quicker’ and the effects of investing in and utilising reliable technology solutions helps to solve the myriad of challenges faced by the modern SME law firm today.

Building effective business habits, facilitated by technology, creates a solid foundation for a successful operation that enables firms to focus on employee wellbeing, risk management, sustainability initiatives, client satisfaction, and many more of the things that SME firms want to achieve. 42% said choosing / optimising back-office tech for business efficiency is a concerning challenge, yet only 20% said they were looking to invest in CMS or PMS solutions, which suggests firms are looking to better utilise the systems they have in place.

This is also reflected in the common themes discussed when asked to choose one thing to increase productivity. Firms said that maximising their existing solutions to implement automation, integrate disconnected tools, extract the right data, or better train users would help teams do more with less. It’s clear that dedicating time to review current solutions and processes for optimisation should be the top priority for maximising profitability and long-term success.

Firms should continually audit their existing processes and technology to ensure it’s still meeting their needs. With so much change and disruption over the last 24 months, taking the time to review what was implemented and what still needs improvement is a good place to start to remain competitive.

Building better business habits through technology sets the foundations for a more streamlined internal operation that 28% of respondents said would have the biggest impact for efficiency. It enables firms to focus on the wider strategy and goals and creates opportunities that may otherwise have been ignored. For example, only 7% said there’s potential to use automation to mitigate risk, but with 56% saying the cost of PII and risk management poses the biggest impact to strategy, there’s a missed opportunity to rely on technology to reduce errors, improve accuracy, and increase accountability to mitigate risk.

Investing in and maximising legal software to create solid and reliable foundations provides firm-wide benefits that impact success. Without technology facilitating the basic business habits, it’s impossible to realise the opportunities that’ll help SME firms stay competitive.

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Download the LPM Frontiers 2022 Report for SME law firms

The annual snapshot of law firms’ changing strategic priorities.