The rapidly expanding legal tech market will symbiotically grow alongside in-house teams countering pressures of increased workloads with decreased budgetary allocations, according to the 2018 State of the Legal Market – Australia white paper.
The report, created by Melbourne Law School and Thomson Reuters, sets out the dominant trends impacting the Australian legal market in 2018, as well as key issues influencing 2019 and beyond.
The report said general counsel are supporting an emergence and growth of legal technology in a rapidly expanding market.
“GCs, and their in-house teams, are increasingly operating within the boundaries of decreasing external legal spend budgets, coupled with increasing workload” it said.
“They see the benefit of leveraging technology to deliver quality and timely legal advice and services in-house” to counter these pressures.
It may be one factor that helps explain why the legal tech market grew so quickly between 2015 and 2017, when 38 new firms were founded, according to the report.
The report gave information on the launch of the Association of Corporate Counsel Australia’s Legal Tech Corner “to provide GCs with simple and streamlined information on the ever-expanding LegalTech market.”
It also highlighted the establishment of an Australian local presence of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium and how it is assisting legal department operations and technology professionals to “congregate and share best practice in legal operations functions.”
Highlighting that the legal tech segment will continue to impact the legal services market for corporate in-house teams, the report indicated “market realities of lawyer adoption will shape the providers’ future.”
“The future for this segment of the market will be dominated by LegalTech firms that provide integrated solutions, data analytics and leverage artificial intelligence (including predictive coding and advancements in machine learning).”
Speaking about the legal profession state in 2018, Jackie Rhodes, managing director of Thomson Reuters Legal noted “the legal profession is facing unparalleled levels of technological, regulatory and economic change.”
“In response, legal professionals are increasingly expected to evolve from traditional organisational structures and commercial models into tech-empowered businesses equipped to prosper in an evolving market landscape,” she offered.
Acknowledging “some practitioners are struggling to grapple with the heightened disruption from technology, others are embracing technology to improve efficiency and sustain and improve their business models,” the report suggested in conclusion that there are “significant opportunities for those that have a clear and compelling strategy, and real threats for those who complacently assume the future will continue on an unchanged, historic trajectory.”