rblog

Innovating to get ahead

By Debra Malpass on 26 May 2017

We recently held our second innovation conference. We welcomed more than 100 original thinkers to London’s Altitude 360. The panoramic views provided the perfect catalyst for a morning spent thinking big. Key innovators in the legal sector hosted a series of discussions on topics ranging from the skills solicitors of the future need, to how to reach new markets.

We want to work with law firms to ensure that our rules do not stand in the way of innovation. Innovation can lead to greater competition, affordability and choice. The innovation conference was the perfect place to learn about how law firms are meeting the demands of people and businesses who need legal help.

My team helped out with the conference and enjoyed learning from the experiences of the delegates. Here are some of the things we took away from the day.

It is not all about technology

Law firms of all shapes and sizes are investing in their people to kick-start innovation. We are seeing law firms bring in external capital and expertise to help steer the course. If you are interested in exploring whether to become an alternative business structure (also known as a licensed body), and bring in some non-lawyer expertise, please see the authorisation pages.

Equally, there is great technology out there

Investing in improved IT is a common challenge for almost all law firms. Many larger firms are beginning to explore the use of artificial intelligence. Tools such as Ross and IBM Watson are used to review and report on thousands of documents at a time. Smaller firms are benefiting too. Consumers expect a more integrated online service, and firms are rising to the challenge. We know that firms are increasingly moving their data to the cloud, to improve efficiency and allow solicitors to work from anywhere. And many firms use text messaging and social media to connect with people who need legal help.

To learn more about how IT can help your firm please see our topic paper IT and innovation. We know many of you will be concerned about how to keep client data and money safe in an increasingly online world. Read our report IT Security: keeping information and money safe to provide the latest tips on keeping cyber-secure.

Talk to us!

Our SRA Innovate programme helps law firms navigate any of our rules that may prevent them innovating. We have dedicated staff on hand to discuss the possibility of waivers to rules in order to help get ideas off the ground.

We recently completed a consultation on formally developing our innovation space. This is a safe space for existing firms, as well as new entrants to the legal market, to pilot new ideas that are likely to benefit members of the public and business users of legal services in a controlled way.

As the conference came to a close, we were left in no doubt that law firms are increasingly looking at new ways of doing things. Be in no doubt – we want to say yes to innovation.

Debra Malpass