Digitalization Could Soon Make Almost Half of Junior Lawyers Superfluous

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Legal technology is forcing law firms to adopt new business models – IT competencies are becoming increasingly important for lawyers

The data volume in legal services is increasing steadily. The ability to depict, analyze and interpret legal data will therefore be absolutely crucial for the success of law firms in the future: computer programs will be able to take on 30 to 50 percent of the tasks currently performed by junior lawyers – which means that more and more lawyers’ jobs will be under threat. What we refer to as “legal technology” uses software to facilitate the digitalization and automatization of work processes – such as the automated evaluation of major agreements, the management of cases, and back-office assignments. Law firms in Germany still hardly use legal technology – and on top of that, only a few start-ups in Germany are offering specific software solutions in this area.

This was the joint conclusion drawn by the Bucerius Center on the Legal Profession (Bucerius CLP) and the Boston Consulting Group in the study “How Legal Technology Will Change the Business of Law.” Fifty interviews were conducted with partners in large-scale law firms, including the nine financially strongest offices in Germany, which account for around 13 percent of the aggregate financial volume generated in the sector in that country. In addition, owners and representatives of legal-tech companies were asked about the effects of legal technology on law firms’ business models.

“Large and small law firms can no longer afford to ignore legal technology if they want to remain competitive,” says Dr. Christian Veith, BCG Senior Partner and one of the survey’s authors. Markus Hartung, Director of Bucerius CLP, is likewise convinced that law firms are being forced to rethink their existing business models. “In the future, the legal profession will increasingly require project managers and specialists who can work with legal technology,” explains Mr. Hartung.

To read the legal-tech report “How Legal Technology Will Change the Business of Law,” please click here.