Briefing Frontiers 2023reports|February 2023
Do law firms still have a hearty appetite for innovation?
Are law firms poised for a further round of innovation and process improvement?
It’s finally here, folks – the Briefing Frontiers research into law firm strategic direction and intention for another year. Much like the way we all manage work, its pages are rather different to how they appeared only a few years ago. We’ve invested in making the big findings and main messages emerging from this flagship polling cleaner and clearer, and called on an even wider range of leadership roles for their perspectives. Briefing has long banged the drum for pulling business functions away from operating as silos, and bringing areas together is very much a theme of this year’s narrative.
Let’s start with some good news. The vast majority of the 72 senior strategic leaders who ticked our boxes this year don’t see less investment in transformation, innovation – call it what you will, but often enabled by new or evolving tech – in the coming year.
That said, change also costs time and effort. There may also be work on in terms of reviewing priorities – do we want efficiencies right now, or a future-proofed firm faster, for example? Almost half of respondents don’t think they’ll have all major systems in the cloud for at least another five years, and a quarter don’t yet have a business-wide data strategy.
And a first for Briefing – we have new ‘satisfaction’ rankings for different sets of systems. All with a keen eye on the wider context of course – supplemented by lots of commentary from those questioned about experience on the ground , plus the perspectives of all our 2023 expert partners. Our thanks to them all: Aderant, Catalyst BI, Intapp, LexisNexis, NetDocuments, OneStream, Peppermint Technology and Thomson Reuters.
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Budget behaviour: strategic investment expectation through uncertainty
Over half (58%) of legal business leaders believe the percentage of revenue their firm spends on IT across all services and channels will increase in 2023, and only 8% expect a decrease in that budget.
Cloud all covered: the readiness of big business systems for a move
One fifth of strategic leaders say their firm has already reached the milestone of having all core management systems – such as practice, document and case – in the cloud. However, one third believe it will be another two years for all areas to make the move, and 30% give themselves a strategic five-year stretch.
Satisfaction survey: systems sitting underused or in need of attention
At least a quarter of respondents believe that every major system has more to offer than their firm is currently managing to capture for one reason or another – rising to over half in the case of the practice management system and prime pandemic-era collaboration engine MS Teams. The system where most leaders see untapped potential for process change is client relationship management.