New Future Ready Lawyer Survey Finds Increasing Pressures on Legal Professionals as Pace of Change, Compliance Complexity and Talent Challenges Climb
New Future Ready Lawyer
Survey Finds Increasing Pressures
of Change, Compliance
Complexity and Talent Challenges
More than ever, lawyers turn to legal tech for
September 14, 2022 – The increasing complexity of compliance,
new client expectations, talent challenges and productivity demands
are pressuring legal
professionals as never before,
according to the findings of Wolters Kluwer’s new global Future
Ready Lawyer Survey 2022. The survey also finds that more progress
is needed as most legal professionals say they are not
well-prepared to address key challenges and opportunities.
Challenged to keep up with emerging trends and escalating
demands, legal professionals are increasingly turning to
legal technology for help. Across Europe and the U.S., the
investment and demand for legal tech solutions have accelerated,
with technology now firmly at the center of improved performance,
productivity, client-firm relations and talent expectations.
According to survey findings:
- 91% of corporate legal departments are expecting their
law firms to fully leverage
- More than 80% of lawyers say it’s of
high importance to them to work for a tech-savvy
law firm or legal
- The Increasing Importance of Legal Technology is a top
trend for 79% of lawyers.
- 64% of legal departments and 63% of law firms will
increase their software investments over the next
“Lawyers already work in a high-pressure environment,
and the Future Ready Lawyer Survey
2022 found that demands are growing as
trends impacting the legal profession continue to accelerate,”
said Martin O’Malley, Wolters Kluwer Legal &
Regulatory CEO. “The pressure further intensifies as
only about one-third of lawyers say that they are very prepared to
address these trends. As legal professionals look to bolster their
capabilities, the survey found that – more than ever –
organizations are turning to technology as a lever to improve
The Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer Survey 2022 includes
insights from 751 legal professionals
across the U.S. and 10 European countries. In its fourth
consecutive year, the survey offers a timely perspective with
benchmark data pre- and post-COVID crisis on trends,
capabilities and changes in the profession and examines how
well-prepared organizations are to drive higher
Key Survey Findings
Top trendsThe top trends
expected to have the most impact across the legal sector over the
next three years are:
- Increasing Importance of Legal Technology –
- Coping with Increased Volume and Complexity of
Information – 79%
- Meeting Changing Client/Leadership Expectations –
Just 36% or fewer lawyers say their organization is very
prepared to keep pace with any of these trends.
New and growing areas in law
are another big trend impacting lawyers:
- 77% report that Coping with Emerging and Growing Compliance
Areas, such as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and data
privacy, is a significant trend.
- 56% of corporate lawyers and 45% of
law firm lawyers report
increased demands for ESG
guidance over the past year. Most say
their organization is not very prepared to keep up.
Also, clearly established in 2022 is the trend on
changes in how legal work gets done, and
who is doing it, with each area showing
increases over prior years:
- For corporate legal departments: 84% report Greater Use of
Contract Staff; Greater Use of Non-legal Staff to Perform Work; and
Greater Use of Alternative Legal Service Providers.
- For law firms: 81% report Greater Use of Third-party or
Outsourced Resources; 78% report Greater Use of Non-legal Staff to
Perform Work and Greater Use of Contract Staff; and 77% report more
The 2022 findings also build on prior years’ survey results
relating to performance trends, which show that across a wide range
of areas legal organizations that fully leverage technology
outperform organizations that do not.
- Law firms that fully embrace technology were once again more
profitable than those that do not: 63% of Technology Leading firms
report their profitability increased over the past year compared to
46% of other firms.
Talent troubles aheadLegal
organizations felt the impact of the “great resignation” over the
past year, and based on survey findings, more talent challenges are
- 86% of corporate lawyers and 70% of law firm lawyers say the
great resignation has had a very or somewhat significant impact on
- 70% of corporate lawyers and 58% of
law firm lawyers
say they are very or somewhat likely to leave their current
position in the next year.
Organizations are not well-prepared to handle the talent churn.
- 33% of legal departments are very prepared to Recruit/Retain
Legal Staff; 36% are very prepared to Recruit/Retain Technology
- 28% of law firms are very prepared to Recruit/Retain Legal
Staff; 33% to Recruit/Retain Technology Staff.
Technology is crucial to talent:
- 87% of corporate lawyers and 83% of
lawyers in law firms say it’s
extremely or very important to work
for a legal organization that
are at the center
of clients’ evaluation
of both existing and future firm
- 91% of legal departments say it will be important for the law
firms they use to fully leverage technology.
- 97% of legal departments do or will ask firms they are
considering to describe the technology they use to be more
productive and efficient.
- The top reason legal departments would switch law firms is if
the Firm did not Demonstrate Efficiency and Productivity. Only 38%
of corporate lawyers say their current firm Uses Technology to
Drive Productivity/Efficiency very well.
Overall, client-firm relationships have improved, yet firms are
at higher risk of being fired:
- 55% of legal departments say their
relationship with their firm has
improved since before the pandemic.
- In addition, 43% of legal departments report being very
satisfied with their firm today, up from
30% in 2021.
- At the same time, however, 32% of corporate legal departments
report that they are very likely to switch firms in the next year,
up from 24% in 2021.
The full survey report, which includes further findings across
law firms, corporate legal departments, technology, talent and
trends, as well as special sections on the impact of ESG and
insights from legal industry luminaries can be downloaded at
Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer 2022.
Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer
SurveyThe Future Ready Lawyer Survey 2022 from
Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory included quantitative
interviews with 751 lawyers in law firms, legal departments and
business services firms across the U.S. and 10 European countries –
the United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, France, Spain,
Poland, Belgium, Sweden and Hungary – to examine how client
expectations, technology and other factors are affecting the future
of law across core areas and how legal organizations are prepared
to address them. The survey was conducted online for Wolters Kluwer
by a leading international research organization from May 16 to
June 3, 2022.
About Wolters KluwerWolters Kluwer (WKL) is a
global leader in professional information, software solutions, and
services for the healthcare; tax and accounting; governance, risk
and compliance; and legal and regulatory sectors. We help our
customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert
solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with specialized
technology and services. Wolters Kluwer reported 2021 annual
revenues of €4.8 billion. The group serves customers in over 180
countries, maintains operations in over 40 countries, and employs
approximately 19,800 people worldwide. The company is headquartered
in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands. For more information,
visit www.wolterskluwer.com, follow us on Twitter, Facebook,
LinkedIn, and YouTube.
MEDIA CONTACT: Leslie Bonacum, Wolters Kluwer Legal &
Regulatory Communication+1 847 877
- 2022.09.14 Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer survey 2022
Grafico Azioni Wolters Kluwers NV (EU:WKL)
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