Legal firms plugging into technological changes

Technology is set to have the greatest impact on law firms over the next five years, according to a new poll of industry leaders.

Could artificial intelligence have a place alongside the law books? Picture: Robert Perry

More than 80 per cent of the participants in today’s survey by accountancy firm and business adviser BDO pointed to technology as the factor most likely to have the greatest effect on their practice.

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The firm quizzed managing partners and senior partners of 63 top Scottish, UK and international law firms.

Only one of the Scottish law firm leaders surveyed thought that artificial intelligence (AI) will have the greatest impact, compared with a fifth of respondents in other parts of the UK.

The research also found that many of the larger and more global firms were more likely to be pioneering new technologies to stay ahead of the competition.

Equally, there were as many firms who wanted to monitor the competition before investing in new technology systems.

One unnamed Scottish legal leader said: “We don’t want to be another Betamax, we would rather be a fast follower.”

When asked what the greatest challenge their firms faced in keeping up with the pace of technological change was, 50 per cent of Scottish respondents said that time and resources were the greatest hurdle compared with 13 per cent across the rest of the UK.

Martin Gill, lead partner at BDO in Scotland, said: “Scottish law firm leaders are agreed that the pace of change in the legal industry is accelerating.”