January in New England is always the same - the winter begins, the New England Patriots are usually in the playoffs, and companies plan their company and sales goals. We held our 2019 Sales Kickoff meeting here at LinkSquares last week, which got us thinking about what we can expect to see in the industry and how we can stay ahead of the curve this coming year.
As a proud member of the Legal Technology industry, here’s what I’m excited about.
Plenty of “Dry Powder” for the Legal Tech cannon
Investment in Legal Tech is at an all-time high. As reported by Forbes, investments in this category rose 713% in 2018 with a total capital investment of $1.3B. The funding of innovative companies that are solving big problems for the legal industry will enable the creation of technology that makes legal professionals more efficient, effective, and productive in everything from e-Discovery to litigation.
Artificial Intelligence as more than just a buzzword
If you’ve attended any legal professional trade shows in the last few years, you’ll have seen Artificial Intelligence (AI) advertised regularly. This year, AI technology will transition from being a buzzword to proving its value in a concrete way. Why? Legal professionals are increasingly seeking solutions that improve their efficiency and accuracy in all areas of their job role. Conversely, companies at the forefront of AI-powered applications have continued to collect more data to power their algorithms and fueled this development through investment dollars like never before. They’re now at a point where they can deliver impactful technology at scale to solve the biggest problems legal professionals face, creating the perfect environment for AI to really take off in the industry.
The Rise of Legal Operations
After sponsoring and attending the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium in 2018, it’s clear that the emerging Legal Operations function will continue to play a significant role inside corporate legal teams. Legal Operations will enable legal teams to have the same caliber of technology implementation and efficiency gains that most sales teams have had for years with Sales Operations. I believe in 2019 we will see corporate legal teams purchasing and implementing technology at a pace never before seen in the industry.
More than a Cost Center
Corporate legal teams will show in 2019 that the legal function can be more than just a cost center. Changing this pervasive mindset isn’t easy, but with the help of technology that proves its worth in both efficiency and cost-benefit, these “cost centers” will demonstrate their potential to be full business partners rather than a bottleneck. These in-house teams will be challenged like never before to deal with pivotal business issues like data privacy, security, and contract management, proving they can stay up to date on industry trends and keep pace with the rest of the business.
Overall, I’m anticipating that 2019 will be a record-breaking year in innovation, tech adoption, and investment in solutions that solve critical business problems for legal teams. This shift has already begun over the last couple of years, and will continue to have a ripple effect throughout the larger business landscape.