Will In-House Lawyers Ever Really Be Digital Buyers?
Why legal is ready for a digital experience.
This paper covers:
- Legal's three digital outliers
- Why legal is ready for a digital experience
- The ideal digital legal channel: A prototype
- The benefits of a digital bench
The digital revolution is upon us.
As consumers, we buy cars online. We shop for and schedule with doctors digitally. As businesses, we procure services through technology.
The legal industry, however, hasn’t yet crossed the digital divide. Sure, attorneys leverage technology more than they ever have before, whether that’s via virtual offices in a post-pandemic environment, workflow software to help oversee the lifecycle of legal matters, or AI to automate contract management or discovery. As lawyers, we’re becoming more tech-enabled professionals, but we haven’t become digital buyers of legal talent or services, yet.
“They” (the pundits, the legal industry influencers, and even the lawyers) say it’s because legal is a different type of profession; a unique and special butterfly. They say that equating digital advancements in other industries to predictions about legal’s trajectory just doesn’t work because there are three ways in which legal will never be analogous to other sectors:
- The limitless importance placed on trust
- The limited role of commoditized work
- The limiting emphasis on risk mitigation
And they’re right. In many ways (including the three outliers above) legal is special. But what if there was a way to digitally hire legal talent and/or procure legal services that were specifically designed to acknowledge and address legal’s nuances?
This report seeks to answer this titular question: Will in-house lawyers ever really be digital consumers? We argue: yes. Not only will be they be, GCs are actually currently hungry for a sophisticated, risk-mitigating, and efficient digital buying option or channel. And they’re ready for it now.
Our conclusion is neither conjecture nor assumption. Axiom’s research of its own clients suggests that among GCs who helm legal departments in organizations with over $10B in revenue, 79% express an interest in engaging lawyers directly in a digital environment. A separate study by McKinsey indicates that 77% of the 300+ GCs polled are open to previewing and/or end-to-end buying of lawyers via a vetted digital channel experience.
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