TR Forefront: How Automation Will Make the Next Big Difference to Margins, March 2018

Ian Milchem, Tikit’s Product Manager for Tikit Carpe Diem talks to Thomson Reuters Forefront about how automation will make the next big difference to margins.

Automation seems to be the technology that top-tier firms want the most now and that they believe will have the biggest impact on their competitiveness and efficiency going forward.

This much was made clear by the recent State of the Industry keynote at LegalWeek New York where emphasis was placed on the need for firms to increase their levels of automation and technical sophistication in order to continue to be profitable in an increasingly competitive and complex market. With significant growth in in-house lawyers and alternative service providers and the increasing legal presence of the Big 4 consultancy firms, the traditional firm market is being squeezed. The net result is that 93% of firms report a decline in one of their key success metrics.*

A similar pattern is reported among the U.K. top 100 firms who, interestingly enough, still cite “firms like mine” as the key competition they will face in the short to medium term. Regardless of where the perceived threat comes from, however, it is clear that firms are turning to technology to try to shift the balance. The two key areas of focus are “get more business in the door” (competitiveness) and “reduce our overhead to deliver the work we have” (efficiency). Any technology innovation that can deliver benefits in both areas is considered to be a key area for investment. It’s no surprise, therefore, that when questioned, most firms respond that they are seriously looking at the possibilities of automation as it applies to the business of law.

The big question to be answered then is where exactly do you apply automation so that it effectively benefits your firm? History is littered with examples of cure-all automation systems that promised much but delivered little.

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