Law Is Lagging Digital Transformation — Why It Matters

A recent survey by KPMG confirms digital transformation is a key strategic priority for CEO’s. It is also time sensitive—85% of enterprise decision makers think they have a two-year timeframe to make significant inroads on their digital transformation before sustaining adverse financial impact and/or lagging the competition. A McKinsey report reveals the upside of digital transformation– data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers; six times as likely to retain customers; and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result. CEO’s, in the words of Jerry Reed, have got “a long way to go and a short time to get there.”

The Legal Industry Is Not Prepared For Digital Consumers

How prepared are corporate legal departments to support their client organizations’ digital initiatives? Not very, according to Gartner—only 19% of in-house legal teams are well positioned to support enterprise digital efforts. Law firms fare even worse; the 2018 Georgetown Report concludes “most are still fighting the last war.” The Big Four and a handful of law-based companies—notably UnitedLex and LegalZoom (retail segment)—have crossed the digital divide and are positioned to capture greater market share. What about the vast majority of legal providers for whom digital transformation is not even on the radar screen?  How will they competently engage with and compete for digital clients/customers? Short answer: not well.

The legal industry’s overall lack of digital awareness and preparedness is a serious problem that is seldom discussed. Legal providers instead tout their “innovation,” “client-centricity,” and “cutting-edge technology.

Repetition of these buzz words-no matter how frequent or strident-does nothing to advance digital readiness. Understanding what digital transformation is, its transformative effect upon businesses, and its focus on consumers is a start.

Digital Transformation Is More Than Tech—It’s About New Customer-Centric Paradigms

Digital transformation is a holistic business paradigm shift that impacts a company’s people, activity, process, and culture. It is technology-enabled and data-driven, but those are the means-not the objective-of the process. Digital transformation involves harnessing data to create business insight that changes the operations/delivery capability of the company. This enables it to connect with consumers in different ways that include providing easier access, more choice, transparency, predictability, speed, and cost-effectiveness. By applying machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to large datasets, businesses can identify previously unknown correlations among data, providing them with enhanced capacity to predict outcomes, optimize delivery, mitigate risk, and tailor solutions to consumer demands and expectations. Automation enables businesses to act upon and scale these insights.

Digital transformation is much more than platforms, AI, and data. The human element is paramount at all levels. To achieve digital transformation, a business must engage in cultural change that involves collaboration, new skills, a more holistic approach to problem-solving, diversity, cultural awareness, constant improvement, lifelong learning, and an agile workforce. Digital transformation also demands “soft skills” essential to complex problem solving, cultural change, and the agility required to keep pace with the ever-accelerating speed of business and pace of change. End-to-end customer experience optimization, operational flexibility, and innovation are key drivers and goals of digital transformation.  They produce new revenue sources and an expanded customer base. All this requires a cultural change within an enterprise—and its business partners. Change management—convincing people to accept, adapt, and engage in constant improvement and training in anticipation of and response to change—is perhaps the biggest hurdle in the process.

This Article was originally published on and is Featured here with Author permission.


Mark A. Cohen
Mark A. Cohen
MARK has had a long and distinguished career as a lawyer and innovator in the legal vertical. His unique perspective on the legal industry is derived from roles he has had as an internationally recognized civil trial lawyer, legal entrepreneur, early large-scale adopter of technology for the delivery of legal services, partner at one of the largest law firms, founder and managing partner of a national litigation boutique firm, outside General Counsel, federally appointed Receiver of a large, international aviation parts business with operations on four continents, (Adjunct) Distinguished Lecturer of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, writer, speaker, and acknowledged global thought leader at the intersection of law, business, and technology. Mark currently serves as CEO of Legalmosaic, a company that provides strategic consulting to service providers, consumers, investors, educators, and new entrants into the legal vertical. Prior to founding Legalmosaic, Mark was Co-Founder of Clearspire, a groundbreaking legal service provider whose disruptive, proprietary IT platform and reengineered legal model garnered international acclaim. This followed his founding of Qualitas,an early entrant into the LPO space. Earlier in his career, Mark was an internationally recognized civil trial lawyer. He was an award-winning Assistant U.S. Attorney and the youngest partner of Finley Kumble prior to founding his own multi-city litigation boutique firm. Mark is widely known for his blogging and speaking on a range of legal topics focused on changes, challenges, and opportunities in the current legal landscape. Mark maintains an active speaking scheduled, both domestic and international. He has been a keynote speaker at Harvard Law School’s Speaker Series, Reinvent Law, 3M’s Global Legal Alignment Summit, LegalZoom, University College London, and, in May 2017, The German Bar Association’s Annual Conference. He writes a weekly column for Forbes and has been published in major legal and business media sources around the globe. Mark has been active in sports and the arts throughout his life, and this is reflected in his writing and speaking on legal issues where he frequently makes references to those topics. He enjoys mentoring students and young lawyers and is known for his colorful sense of humor and candor.

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