By Jamy J. Sullivan, JD, Executive Director, Legal Practice Group, Robert Half

Law has long been a paper-heavy industry for several good reasons. Successful law firms depend on meticulous record-keeping — which traditionally relied on physical files. They also place a high value on security and confidentiality — keeping these documents under lock and key.

All this is changing in the age of digitization. As paper is phased out, cybersecurity protocols are the new locks and keys. As a result, law firms need to adapt to paperless ways of working or risk falling behind their more innovative and agile competitors. So, as digitization reshapes the legal landscape, law firms need individuals who are as comfortable with tech as they are with tort.

Let’s first examine the impact and benefits of digitization and then explore how your firm can refine its recruitment strategies to attract tech-savvy candidates who understand and can work with the new demands of a digitized law firm.

In the legal profession, digitization is involved in processes like scanning documents, creating e-signatures, utilizing cloud-based storage and accessing online databases. By leveraging these technologies, firms can automate and optimize many common legal work tasks:

  • Document management — Digitizing documents allows for secure, efficient and easily accessible storage. This eliminates the costs of physical storage space and reduces time spent searching for documents.
  • eDiscovery — The use of technology in the discovery process can streamline the identification, collection and analysis of electronically stored information (ESI), significantly reducing the time and cost involved in traditional discovery methods.
  • Legal research — Online databases and artificial intelligence (AI) help legal professionals quickly access relevant case law, statutes and regulations, improving the speed and accuracy of research.
  • Contract management — AI-driven contract management software can automate the drafting, review and negotiation of contracts, saving time on repetitive tasks and minimizing the risk of human error. 
  • Predicting litigation outcomes — AI tools can analyze huge troves of historical judgments, looking at the facts and decisions for each particular case and spotting trends — for example, which sorts of claims are increasingly successful at trial, and which are more likely to be ruled against. 
  • Billing and time tracking — Digital tools simplify the process of tracking billable hours and generating invoices, ensuring more accurate and transparent billing.
  • Litigation — Lawyers can use online platforms to conduct various aspects of litigation remotely, such as filing documents, scheduling hearings, conducting depositions and appearing in court via video conferencing.


The advantages of digitization for law firms

The benefit of digital over analog isn’t always a given. Your legal team may find they generate their best ideas working on paper — similar to how some photographers still prefer film.

Nevertheless, the overall advantages of switching to digital systems in the legal industry are significant and undeniable. They include:

  • Increased productivity — By streamlining processes using digital tools, legal professionals can complete tasks more efficiently and with fewer resources. Increased efficiency allows lawyers to focus on higher-value tasks, boosting their overall productivity. Plus, the cost savings associated with reduced overhead expenses can be passed on to clients or reinvested into the firm to fuel further growth and innovation.
  • Enhanced client service — Your clients are digitizing too — often faster than the average law firm — and have come to expect the cost savings and convenience technology creates. Through digitization, you can provide clients easy access to documents, case updates and billing information. And by collecting and analyzing data about your clients, you can offer customized solutions that meet their unique needs and preferences.
  • Competitive advantage — Firms that harness the power of technology can offer innovative services, respond more quickly to market changes and differentiate themselves from competitors who are slow to adopt digital solutions. By staying at the forefront of legal tech, your firm will be better positioned to attract and retain clients who value speed, convenience and innovation.
  • Improved work-life balance — Legal professionals can use tools like video conferencing and cloud-based document storage to stay connected with colleagues and clients while working remotely. This offers opportunities to improve work-life balance and as a result, contribute to increased job satisfaction, stress reduction and overall improved well-being for your employees.


6 tips for hiring tech-savvy legal professionals

To find talent with expertise in areas like data analytics, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, follow these six tips:

  1. Broaden your search. When hiring, expand your talent pool to include candidates with experience in technology, data science or business. These professionals can bring fresh perspectives and valuable skills to your firm.
  2. Update your job descriptions. Clearly outline the technical competencies required for each role, including any software, platforms and tools that candidates should be familiar with. Emphasizing technical skills can help set realistic expectations for potential hires and encourage applicants who are passionate about integrating technology into their legal practice.
  3. Offer targeted perks and benefits. To attract and retain tech-savvy talent, provide benefits that cater to their unique needs, such as flexible working arrangements, professional development opportunities and access to cutting-edge technology.
  4. Invest in upskilling and training initiatives. Some of the talent you need may already be on the payroll. Encourage current staff to develop their technical skills through training programs, workshops and certifications like Certified E-Discovery Specialist (CEDS) and LTC4 Core Competency. Partner with law schools and other educational institutions to develop specialized courses and programs for your employees tailored to the evolving needs of the legal industry. This focus on upskilling not only helps your firm stay current with technological advancements but also promotes employee satisfaction and loyalty.
  5. Implement reverse mentorship programs. Pair tech-savvy junior team members with experienced legal professionals who may be less familiar with digital tools and trends. This encourages knowledge exchange, fosters a collaborative environment and helps bridge the generational gap in technology adoption.
  6. Partner with a staffing firm. Collaborating with a talent solutions specialist like Robert Half gives you access to a diverse pool of professionals — contract/temporary or permanent — with the necessary blend of legal and technical experience.


Bottom line: The digitization of the legal profession is a permanent shift you and your firm must embrace to stay competitive and meet the evolving needs of your clients. By recognizing the need for change and investing in technology, talent and training, you’ll be ready for long-term success in an increasingly digitized world.