Legal & Regulatory


The Wolters Kluwer
Future Ready Lawyer:
Leading Change
The future is increasingly dynamic, complex and uncertain
More than ever, lawyers turn to legal tech for help

91% of corporate legal departments say it will be important to have a law firm that fully leverages technology

63% of lawyers expect to increase their investment in software to support legal work

36% or fewer lawyers are very prepared to address the most significant legal trends coming at them

63% of technology leading law firms report their profitability increased over the past year – more than any other firms
It’s been said that the pandemic brought the future to the present. This is certainly true for the legal profession. But what are the challenges lawyers are facing and how can they thrive in the new normal?

The 2022 Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer Survey: Leading Change Report provides insights from 751 legal professionals across Europe and the U.S.

As the Future Ready Lawyer Survey shows, new and improved technology capabilities are driving greater resilience, improved client relations and higher performance for many organizations in the legal profession across Europe and the U.S.

Together, these strengthened digital and business capabilities are crucial… because the future is increasingly dynamic, complex and uncertain. 
The Report examines:

○ Leading legal industry trends
○ The changing client-firm relationship
○ The changing legal department
○ The changing law firm
○ Legal technology as a performance driver
○ The rising role of ESG
○ Competitive advantages
○ Talent challenges

Learn more about Survey findings and download Report now

Survey findings show that the pressure on legal professionals is higher now more than ever, as they are facing pervasive ongoing change.

Challenges include the vast complexity of compliance requirements, higher performance expectations, growing talent tensions, the urgent need for legal tech-enabled efficiency and the escalated demand of emerging areas such as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).

Key Findings

Leading trends
According to the Survey, the top three trends expected to impact legal professionals are:
○ Increasing Importance of Legal Technology (79%)
○ Coping with Increased Volume and Complexity of Information (79%)
○ Meeting Changing Client/Leadership Expectations (79%)
Only 36% or fewer lawyers say their organization is very prepared to address the most significant trends they believe will impact them in the next three years…
Client-firm relationships
Client demand for tech-enabled law firms hit a record high in 2022 and is expected to continue to climb.

In 2021 and 2020, just 52% and 41% of legal departments respectively reported asking the law firms they were considering to describe the technology they used to be more productive and efficient.

Today, that has jumped to 70%, and it is projected to hit 97% by 2025.
Each year the number of legal departments that ask the law firms about technology is growing. Within three years, nearly all legal departments (97%) plan to do so

New Developments in the Legal Profession

Changes in who does the work
Legal departments - 84% will make greater use of alternative legal service providers / Law firms - 81% will increase use of third-party or outsourced resources
As lawyers focus on finding new ways to more effectively manage their increasing workload, the Survey shows a significant and growing trend across legal organizations over the past three years in “who” does the work.

Legal departments and law firms are increasingly leveraging different types of arrangements – from contract workers and third-party resources to alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) and non-legal staff.

Organizations’ efforts to further bolster their teams come at a critical time as they now prepare to face the new talent challenges that have emerged from the pandemic.
Talent challenges
86% of legal departments and 70% of law firms report they have experienced very or somewhat significant impact from the “great resignation”.

○ 70% of corporate lawyers and 58% of law firm lawyers say they are very to somewhat likely to leave their current position in the next year.

○ Only 36% of lawyers in legal departments and 33% in law firms think their organization is very prepared to recruit/retain technology staff.

○ 87% of lawyers in legal departments and 83% in law firms say it’s extremely or very important to them to work for an organization that fully leverages technology.
Lawyers want to work in tech-savvy departments (87%) and firms (83%)
Legal professionals have been challenged by the unprecedented growth in Environmental, Social and Governance concerns.

ESG has quickly emerged as a significant and specific demand on corporate legal departments, and it will continue to grow. The need for creating and sharing ESG policies and procedures is increasing.

Law firms are positioning themselves to respond to ESG challenges. They are experiencing significant growth in ESG demand from clients but demand is outstripping their preparedness to respond.

More Insights From Future Ready Lawyer

Legal trends report – the top 5 trends expected to impact most legal organizations
Challenges include complexity of compliance requirements, higher performance expectations, growing talent tensions and the escalated demand of emerging areas such as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).
Legal technology trends - insights from 751 legal professionals
Talent troubles in the legal industry - "great resignation" and readiness to leave
The growing importance of ESG in the legal profession

Legal Luminaries' Insights

The Future Ready Lawyer Survey 2022 Report provides insights from legal industry luminaries from Europe and the U.S. on the impact of the crisis on the legal profession.   
Bob Ambrogi
While technology provides essential tools, data provides the insights to guide the most effective use of those tools. From legal research to litigation strategy, from compliance to pricing, data is the key that unlocks smarter decision-making.
Bob Ambrogi
Robert Ambrogi is a Massachusetts lawyer and journalist who has been covering legal technology and the web for more than 20 years, primarily through his blog and now also his podcast

About the Survey and Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory

The 2022 Future Ready Lawyer Survey: Leading Change 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 these. The Survey was conducted online for Wolters Kluwer by a leading international research organization from May 16 to June 3, 2022.

Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory is a division of Wolters Kluwer, a global leading provider of legal and compliance solutions that enable professionals to improve productivity and performance, mitigate risk and achieve better outcomes.

Wolters 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 20,000 people worldwide. The company is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands.
The 2022 Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer Survey
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