Will COVID-19 Accelerate a Digital Transformation in the Legal Industry?

The legal industry is one of the last bastions that has yet to fully transform its business processes digitally like other industries such as health care, finance, and media. Why has it taken so long?

As a litigation support service provider that completely digitized its business model in 2004, we continue to be perplexed by the delay. But it is not all bad news. Practice management solutions like Clio, eDiscovery, case research powered by artificial intelligence, and other areas have certainly been transformative to the industry.

Additionally, in California, 36 counties and counting have implemented some level of digital transformation (i.e., electronic filing). With a total of 58 counties in the state, however, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Enter the COVID-19 pandemic. It appears that this virus, and its ensuing impact – courthouse closures, furloughed staff, shuddered offices, remote working and more – has finally spurred the legal industry to consider how to transform broader and deeper throughout its ecosystem with more urgency than ever. More courts, certain client industries and other legal services areas are now being considered too.

eFiling Gets Accelerated

While some superior county courts made the transition to eFiling pre-COVID-19, we are witnessing others accelerate their eFiling implementation during this time period as a solution for maintaining court operations.

For example, San Diego Superior Court went live with permissive eFiling for Family Law on May 26, 2020 and San Mateo Superior Court shifted to mandatory eFiling for Civil and Small Claims on June 1, 2020.

We’ve seen other developments like San Francisco Superior Court enable eFiling for Subsequent Limited and Unlimited Unlawful Detainer (UD) cases, as well as Placer County Superior Court commencing mandatory eDelivery for all case types on May 11, 2020.

Other Areas of the Legal Industry are Transforming Too

And while we know that the legal industry’s digital transformation doesn’t start and stop with eFiling, it’s a strong indicator of how ready the courts are to adopt the digitization of their processes and workflows.

When the courts invest in this area and modernize the way they operate, it brings the rest of the legal industry with it – as other market constituents such as law firms, attorney services, the Public, legal tech vendors and more – follow suit to ensure they are meeting the court’s rules and requirements.

As such, legal tech is being heavily invested in areas like eDiscovery, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, legal analytics, and contract management to seize the opportunity of the burgeoning digital transformation happening throughout the larger legal ecosystem.

Are You Ready?

Where is your law firm or legal department on the digital transformation spectrum? Some questions to consider:

  • Are you eFiling today?
  • Is it a priority to automate your organization’s workflows and processes? How many of those require paper and manual effort? What’s stopping you from changing?
  • How comfortable is your staff with leveraging new technology to streamline processes?
  • Do you need the same number of people to do the work with automation?

These are areas you or your staff will want to be thinking about to prepare for the inevitable change that will come.

Looking to get started with eFiling? Schedule a brief 15-minute call with an Account Manager here.