priorities for law firms in 2018


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the great German literary figure once said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” In other words, you’ve got to keep your priorities straight! In fact, results from recent surveys indicates that law firms have certain key priorities for 2018. Here is a breakdown:

Improving Security
According to the recent ILTA Technology Survey, which takes a look at the issues, practices, and trends happening at today’s firms, security is a major focus (just as it has been in the past few years.) And this makes sense: Law firms are prime targets for cyberattacks, given they are in possession of confidential and highly sensitive information about their clients.

Unfortunately, cybercriminals are constantly evolving and becoming increasingly sophisticated. Committing to cyber-security vigilance is crucial in order to keep clients’ private data safe. The good news is that firms are currently trending towards heightened security measures, such as “removing desktop admin rights, adding two-factor authentication for remote access, intrusion detection and prevention systems, DLP, and phish testing of users.” You can protect yourself: For starters, check out this article on two-factor authentication and how to responsibly vet your cloud vendors.

Increasing Revenue in an Uncertain Climate
The legal profession is squarely in the midst of some major transformation, which as a result has some like James G. Leipold, executive director of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), saying that “uncertainty is the hallmark of the future for law firms.” Advanced technologies, alternative service providers, online legal solutions, and legal smartphone apps have all served to transform the legal landscape, as has globalization. The market is crowded and law firms face stiff competition.

Unsurprisingly, in light of this environment, the Legal Institute for Forward Thinking revealed that in 2018, firms will be acutely focused on how to sell smarter, reduce delivery cost, and improve quality of service to ensure their ongoing ability to win new business in a shrinking market.

AI Adoption
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic across all industries, including the legal profession. And clients are increasingly expecting their law firms to adopt AI in some way. While ILTA Technology Survey respondents recognize the potential impact AI can have, they were also very clear that firms must “be careful that our assumptions about the decisions AI is making for us are good ones based on solid information.” Firms should also make sure to provide quality knowledge and information in order for AI systems to be effective. Training these systems will require significant expertise and attention.

Kristin Johnson is an executive and corporate communications professional, and founder of KSJ Communications, a communications and public relations firm. She consults with a diverse roster of clients spanning the technology, professional services, financial services, public sector, consumer, and healthcare industries. In addition to Rocket Matter, Johnson writes for various other publications as well.