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Law firm competition driving innovation

Law firm competition driving innovation

Lawyers may carry a reputation as being slow to adapt to technology, but competition within the legal services market is leading to innovation around collaboration technologies. According to…

Lawyers may carry a reputation as being slow to adapt to technology, but competition within the legal services market is leading to innovation around collaboration technologies.

According to Matthew Moore, the Asia Pacific regional director at software provider Workshare, his business continues to centre its tools and focus around the legal sector due to the strong and changing demands of the market.

"Typically, we do best in the legal market because of the need for absolute authenticity and accuracy of documents," says Moore. "The legal industry is all about creating IP, therefore they value that the highest, and therefore our tools play best into that market."

While tools such as Workshare's document comparison device DeltaView still have credibility in other markets, Moore says it's the legal sector that continues to drive business and innovation for the vendor.

In fact, Workshare claims it already boasts 90 per cent of the world's top 500 law firms as clients, and the technology company is keen to come up with bigger and better ways to service them.

"The way we see the market going is in increasingly providing clients with access to information that the firms create, whether that's through deal rooms, client extranets, client portals etc," says Moore.

There are also some emerging legal trends, according to Moore, that will continue to drive innovation in the collaboration space.

"Some of the trends we're seeing are around fixed price billing, and when you're working in a fixed-billing environment, you become a de-facto extension to a client's legal team. Therefore, the effort and the input around ensuring that collaboration is simple and accurate is the key," says Moore.

Moore also notes an increased level of law firms sharing "rich information" - such as videoconferencing and PowerPoint - with their clients.

"Historically, we'd see that typically information was exchanged via email or word documents, and that was pretty much the extent of sharing information," he says.

"We're now seeing people increasingly using powerpoint and excel to share information back and forth, and those can contain quite often more critical and key information, that has historically not had the same amount of rigor around control of the content and its creation."

Such increased sharing of rich information is also being encouraged by lawyers getting out of their offices - be it to work directly with the client or to work from home or simply while travelling.

"The ability for lawyers to be mobile is essential, so [technology is providing] the ability for them to access information anywhere, at anytime, and to reduce the need to have a heavy number of applications loaded on their desktop when they may want to instead access information from an iPhone, iPad or BlackBerry."

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