Law firms add new innovations, but use of lawyers is limited – survey

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  • Am Law 200 members integrating legal technology and innovation
  • Writing tech-based documents is common, but smart contracts are not

(Reuters) – Major law firms are rolling out innovative initiatives ranging from drafting technology-based documents to advising on legal transactions, but adoption by lawyers is insufficient, according to a new report.

The research from marketing and legal consultancy Baretz + Brunelle comes as law firms, which in the past have been slow to innovate, are emerging in an increasingly crowded market for technology and legal services.

The analysis was carried out by the NewLaw firm of Baretz + Brunelle. Brad Blickstein and Beatrice Servello co-lead the team, which in October published an analysis of “captive” Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs) within law firms.

As with the ALSP captive report, “we were surprised at the number of different NewLaw initiatives companies are attempting,” Blickstein said in a statement Tuesday.

Baretz + Brunelle surveyed 44 of the 223 law firms in the Am Law 200 and Global 100. Over 80% of responding firms have launched at least six of the 10 different major innovation initiatives specified in the survey , although some have been implemented more widely than others.

While 95% of the companies surveyed use technology-based document writing and assembly, for example, only about half have smart contracts and blockchain initiatives in place, according to the report.

The introduction of the other initiatives, including proprietary technology tools for clients, alternative recruiting agencies, and database and knowledge platforms, fell in the middle.

Just because the tools are there, doesn’t mean law firm professionals use them.

Using a ‘maturity model’ to assess how often the tool or service is actually implemented, the survey found that a majority of business initiatives achieved an intermediate score or lower.

Of all the initiatives assessed across all of the companies surveyed, only 21% had been ubiquitously adopted, the highest maturity model rating.

Read more:

IN BRIEF: Taking stock as Big Law’s “captive” ALSPs extend their reach

Clients beat law firms in race for innovation, survey finds


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