For solo and small law firms, the current state of legal technology offers both promises and pitfalls. Technology such as generative AI poses traps for the unwary, but for those who understand and embrace technology, there are opportunities to run more profitable and efficient practices, provide better customer experiences, and improve work-life balance.

In light of this state of affairs, a new report out today by the legal technology company Gavel, 2024 Legal Tech Trends Report for Small and Solo Firms, has analyzed available data from multiple sources to identify the key legal tech trends impacting solo and small firms and recommend how they can prepare their practices for continued innovation and change.

While it has become a common marketing tool for legal tech companies to conduct and publish their own “trend” surveys, this one is interesting because, rather than conduct its own survey, Gavel has drawn on data from multiple industry surveys and synthesized the findings. Its sources include Thomson Reuters’ State of US Law Firms Report, Clio’s Legal Trends Report, Wolters Kluwers’ Future Ready Lawyer report, and the American Bar Association’s annual tech report.

It then goes on to offer insights on how solo and small firms can prepare their practices for innovation and change in the face of an environment of rapid change. For each of the five key trends the report identifies, it not only identifies what the data shows and why the trends matter, but it goes on to provide planning worksheets for each.

“Practitioners can fill out these worksheets, which relate to each major trend in the report, which will help them get on a path to develop a plan for their firm,” Dorna Moini, Gavel’s cofounder and CEO, told me.

I will leave it to you to download and read the full report, but the key trends it identifies and discusses are:

  • Consumers and businesses are turning to solo and small and medium-enterprise (SME) law firms because of their agility, personalization, and higher quality client experience at competitive pricing.
  • Law firms are unlocking economies of scale through flat and fixed price agreements in ways that were not possible with hourly billing.
  • Firms that do not use online payments lose clients and have drastic drops in realization rates.
  • By using the right legal tech, firms are optimizing their profitability and business processes.
  • Competition will eat firms that do not have a strong online presence.

“New technology has created conveniences and efficiencies for both clients and attorneys, leading to increased client satisfaction, improved client experience, profitability, and a better work-life for attorneys,” the report says.

For solo and small firms, this is a concise and insightful look at trends they should be aware of and, more to the point, responding to.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.