Digital transformation is on the minds of CEOs and business owners everywhere, according to research by KPMG. And going digital is not just about reducing paperwork and organizing data—it’s essential to business success.

A McKinsey study reveals that data-driven organizations that invest in digital best practices are 23 percent more likely to acquire new customers and six times as likely to retain customers.

The legal industry is lagging behind, according to a report issued by the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center and Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute.  Gartner states that just 19 percent of in-house legal teams are prepared to support digital efforts within their organizations.

Partnering with a consultant to help implement and execute a digital transformation strategy—rather than delegating various tasks across your staff or hiring full-time employees—has big benefits for many law firms. Here are three reasons why:

Assess Needs and Identify Lower-Cost Solutions

Before anything else, an experienced professional in digital transformation should conduct a thorough assessment of your current information and records management practices to identify strong points, weaknesses, and biggest areas of risk.

Weak points will be shored up and automated wherever possible so old habits can’t set back in.  Consultants will often work with other third parties to identify other potential solutions to help streamline process and best practices, when necessary, and leverage their experience to make recommendations that align with your firm’s requirements and budget. Similarly, a consulting partner will identify unnecessary process and confirm procedures you’re already doing well.

Emphasize Data and Information Security

Law firms can no longer ignore the threat of data breaches, both physical and digital. According to the American Bar Association cyber attacks on law firms are on the rise, up 14% over the last few years alone.

You might think digitizing client data means putting it at greater risk, but smart digital transformations involve implementing sophisticated software that limits data access to only the most critical stakeholders. Additionally, a consultant will work with and train your staff to be more aware of attempts to breach your firm’s security through phishing or other methods.

Understand Data Retention Compliance

While a strategic digital transformation strategy requires the buy-in, participation and suggestions from team members across your firm, it’s hard for anyone whose head is all the way down on cases or other day-to-day responsibilities to dedicate themselves to learning about and implementing best compliance practices with federal, state and local data retention policies.

The legal industry is a complicated space with strict regulations that are ever-changing, and (if not followed), can be very costly. Experience professionals in digital transformation know data retention policies inside and out. They know how long various types of documents should be kept and how to automate the secure destruction of redundant or otherwise unnecessary files.

If saving time and resources so that your law firm can focus on clients and other important areas of your business, you might want to consider a consultant to help with your information management and governance strategies.


Brian Quinn is the Vice President of Conversion Services at Access.