Wednesday 23 October 2019 2:43 pm

Tech is top priority for UK's leading law firms

Technology is the key strategic priority for the UK’s leading law firms, a report published today showed.

A survey of the UK’s top 100 law firms found more than four fifths (81 per cent) said technology was the most important area of strategic development for their firm.

After technology investment, 41 per cent cited overseas expansion as the next most important priority and 28 per cent said mergers and acquisition was their next most important goal.

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However, the desire to invest in technology has diminished, with 27 per cent of law firm leaders saying they would invest more than five per cent of revenue in technology projects, down from 75 per cent in 2017 – the survey from HSBC and The Lawyer magazine showed.

HSBC UK head of professional services Chloe Clift said: “While investment in technology is clearly still a priority, law firms are pulling back from new and innovative technologies to focus on their ‘business as usual’ systems that lie at the heart of operating an efficient modern law firm. 

“Products and services that were previously seen as innovative tech are now, in many cases, established and require minimal additional investment. It’s also worth considering that some firms may be delaying investment decisions until the future of the UK’s relationship with the EU is clearer.”

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Client collaboration tools were identified by 44 per cent of firms as the leading priority for tech spending, followed by the prevention of cybercrime (15 per cent) and artificial intelligence (11 per cent).

Clift said: “While an increase in revenue across law firms means that tech investment has grown in real terms, firms shouldn’t be complacent, particularly around investment in preventing cybercrime. 

“Increasing frequency and sophistication means that cybercrime should remain a focus for firms who could suffer damage to their operations or their reputation in the event of a serious breach.”