Can Lawyers Be Trusted In Today's World

Anwalti 2035: "Clients will continue to trust in people"

The good news first: the majority of lawyers also see digitization as an opportunity. At least that is a result of the survey of 234 lawyers (mostly lawyers, but also trainees and legal employees). "Reasons for the positive attitude are, among other things, the simplification of the processes, but also the increase in efficiency", says Sophie Martinetz, founder of the platform "Future Law", which carried out the survey.

Nine out of ten already use digital tools for the organization within the law firm, but there is still a desire for more: 66 percent of the respondents stated that they would like additional digital technologies for the organization within the law firm and the majority also consider this to be a major role for the future too. What do such tools look like? Document management is rated as very important, followed by mobile access and the processing of documents. Some work steps have already been digitized - Martinetz mentions software for speech recognition here, for example. Where dozens of men and women used to sit in law firms typing for hours, this is now done by software. According to the survey, almost half of the lawyers surveyed are planning specific steps in the next five years to increase the level of digitization in the law firm.

Lawyers do not see any great danger

Internationally, of course, a lot more is possible: The Ross software spits out comparable cases in just a few hours, which are helpful for research. Such technological advances would primarily affect the areas of brand name services and commodity services, for which legal employees, assistants or trainee lawyers are responsible, says Martinetz. 83 percent could imagine using a digital assistant for research. However, three quarters consider it very or rather unlikely that this assistant will also take on legal advice for clients. This is one of the reasons why "only" a quarter see the risk of job losses in the survey. Cyber ​​crime (65 percent), data protection (64 percent) and a lack of know-how or insufficient skills of employees (34 percent) are seen as bigger problems.

How does it all look from the customer's point of view? A survey published by Lexis Nexis says that 70 percent of Austrians could imagine consulting a robot lawyer for selected services. The automated service is trusted above all when it is ensured that it is checked by legally competent persons. This also corresponds to the picture that the lawyers surveyed have of their future role - legal expertise will therefore also be of great importance in 2035. The next detail of the survey is interesting: The respondents believe that advising clients will be even more intensive in 2035 than today via email or new and secure online tools. One could of course also argue in the other direction, says Martinetz, and rely on personal meetings and contact as a contrast to software solutions and online advice.

Competition will increase

Do the lawyers surveyed take the digital future lightly? Martinetz would not go that far in the analysis. "Yes, they are very relaxed about it," she says. It will also be a particular challenge in the future how the performance of IT specialists and lawyers will be assessed in the future - apart from the billable hour. In any case, it is now important to think about which activities in your own company or the law firm could be automated in the future, with which tools and how this will change the usual work processes. "Most of them are aware that the competition will increase significantly." (Lara Hagen, October 16, 2017)