Is Legal Tech Used To Add Value, Or Cut Cost?

Barnetts solicitors have released an iPhone app that enables you to ask a solicitor for a quote on a conveyancing deal and check how the transaction is going.

For the full story, read the Gazette, here.

There is something about this story that strikes me as odd.

Perhaps it is the futility of apps and widgets which do nothing that you couldn’t do before.  Get a quote from a conveyancer?  How about using that iPhone of yours, or any phone, to, you know, well, phone them?

The Gazette article suggests that other law firms could licence the software.  I don’t get that.  Does that mean that an enquiring client would have to download a similar app to their iPhone from each law firm that they were interested in getting a quote from?

Again, why wouldn’t you just call?

Or are Barnetts saying that they will process the enquiry, from the app, for all licensed conveyancers?  I can’t see me being able to sell it to my firm on the basis that our potential new client enquiries would go through another law firm.  So that can’t be it.

I think the ability to check, via app, on your file and progression is admirable but not if it is to exclude human contact between the client and adviser.  If we go to the app download page here you will see that your app enquiry links to

“…our tracking services, you will be asked to enter your case reference and a password. This will then display your cases key milestones. This information is live from our case management system and you will receive updates via SMS when key milestones are triggered.”

There is a comment also from Richard Barnett, the Senior Partner at Barnetts, which reads;

“‘In the past few years, conveyancers have been challenged to provide the best possible service at the most competitive price. To succeed with this goal, the use of the latest techniques and technologies has to be embraced.’

So, to revisit my opening question, I’m curious, do we innovate legal technology to add value to the client, or cut cost for the provider?

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3 Comments

Filed under Law, Lawyers and Social Media, The Changing Legal Market

3 responses to “Is Legal Tech Used To Add Value, Or Cut Cost?

  1. From a clients perspective I can’t see a great benefit from one firms app, but if all licenced it I can see the benefit. Especially if I could get a quote from one place from a number of firms and chose the most competitive price!

    Your point “I can’t see me being able to sell it to my firm on the basis that our potential new client enquiries would go through another law firm” is valid until there are enough other firms doing it to make it so you can’t afford not to. Susskind talks about this tipping point in his latest book.

    Not sure it answers your question though…

  2. I agree that an app comparing costs would be almost irresistable – I cannot think why there is not one yet. But it would have to be provided by an independent organisation, not one of the parties who are themselves quoting for the work.

  3. Pingback: Times are tough. Whatever you do, nobody innovate! « Lawyer1point9

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