How Covid-19 could impact Swiss legal tech industry

Considering the global economy is heavily disrupted by Covid-19 outbreak, it comes natural wondering how the legal tech sector would react to this pandemic. Actually, the first question should be if legal services adopting these technologies would drop or not. Indeed, the legal tech sector is naturally dependent upon law firms, ALSPs and in-house teams buying and using its software to generate revenue. This is happening in Switzerland and all over the world.

When a crisis arises, new legal needs emerge. Most likely, bigger and smaller law firms will experience a transition period, where tech tool could become essential. However, the impact on the short term shouldn’t be ignored. If it is true that there are tech companies that have sold long term licenses, at the same time there are others that live by client usage levels of their software. As the scenario is rapidly changing, adaptability should be a key attitude to embrace. But, overall, the most productive activity for legal tech is try to get in touch with new clients.

Actually, there are no signs till now that large law firm are cutting their tech budget. Of, course there will be an impact, but legal tech providers should continue their activities of selling as, even in normal conditions, it takes lots of time to progress. Other two indicators can be in favor of legal tech: client’s willingness of using tech solution to have more cost efficient services and the remote work exponential rise. Concerning the latter point we can underline a double opportunity: improve communication to engage potential buyers and trigger innovation to develop new solutions to this situation. In other words, no physical contact is needed to promote a tech product and more possibilities can arrive in a moment when everybody is teleworking.

The situation could be particularly sensitive in Switzerland where the legal services industry was already experiencing a phase of deep transformation. Recently, the Swiss LegalTech association (Slta) have developed 8 active chapters around the country to work towards the same objective: support the legal industry with a better understanding of the legal technology market. This mapping could be particularly useful in this delicate moment. In their account, Slta is encouraging “to keep the consequences of this crisis as low as possible by helping the economy”. One initiative suggested is: eSolidarity which support Swiss Tech startups in home office and digitalization field.