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Bellwether Report 2017: The Race to Evolve

Date:26 OCT 2017
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The latest LexisNexis Bellwether report, The Race to Evolve, reveals only 17% of respondents consider the active use of technology to be of primary importance when it comes to driving efficiency within small and midsize law firms.

The report identifies active use of legal processes, tools and technologies as the second highest driver of efficiency in small and midsize law firms. Yet 81% of these firms spend less than 10% of their turnover on legal tools, and 58% of firms are spending less than 5%.

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The Bellwether Report 2017 is the fifth annual report in the series and explores the current and future state of the legal landscape from the point of view of independent law firms. It explores how firms are tackling the pressures of change in the profession-wide race to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to client-centric, forward-thinking, efficient service. The Race to Evolve is the second and final report in the Bellwether 2017 series and is based on 10 in-depth interviews followed by an online survey among 149 lawyers via the LexisNexis databases.

Key findings in this year’s research include:
  • Only a third (36%) of lawyers think they are providing an ‘above average’ service in terms of efficiency.

  • Almost two-thirds of lawyers continue to rank the active use of technology low in the list of efficiency drivers.

  • 95% of lawyers who use legal tools for forms and precedents say they make a difference.

  • Only 17% of respondents consider the active use of technology to be of primary importance when it comes to driving efficiency.

  • 95% of lawyers refer enquiries in which they don’t specialise, to other firms.

The full report can be found here.

Jon Whittle, Market Development Director at LexisNexis commented:

'Law firms must align their working practices with that of their increasingly tech-savvy and informed client base. One of the problems is getting lawyers to take a long term view. While their firms may be thriving now, if they don’t take a commercially savvy, customer-centric, progressive view of the business and invest in solutions that drive efficiency today, this will not be in the case in five years.
It’s clear from our research that those firms that are investing are far outpacing those who aren’t, and this isn’t going unnoticed by their clients. While it seems many law firms understand where the gaps are, there is a push and pull phenomenon between traditional and modern working practices, and a disconnect between words and action. Ultimately, while many lawyers are still charging by the hour they are not understanding the value of their time – and this needs to change.”