By extension, roughly a quarter of legal research costs are absorbed, highlighting the perils of traditional legal research methods to briefs – and the bottom line.
Yet client expectations remain high. “Clients want their counsel to win and, more importantly, win efficiently,” Kleiman said. In this way, technology can ease brief writing challenges, and shatter a few preconceptions along the way.
While conventional wisdom holds that firms resist new technology, Bloomberg Law’s survey found a clear majority of legal professionals – roughly 85% – believe specific technology could reduce time researching a brief and responding to motions. Moreover, over three-quarters stated the technology could reduce brief analysis time by at least 25% – the same percentage of time that firms currently absorb in conducting legal research.
Taking the long view, technology may not represent a radical break but rather a natural next step in an ongoing evolution. “Over the last 40 years, technology has continually changed brief writing and reading in a number of ways,” Berg said.
In the meantime, the legal brief writing – a task that evokes reactions such as “nerve-wracking,” “nightmare,” and “cold sweat” from law associates – continues to lag new legal information and client expectations, while deepening associate anxiety and client cost concerns.
Law firms must evolve to remain competitive. Legal brief writing provides a good starting point in that effort. Where appropriately implemented, technology can maximize legal research and tilt the scales in ways that win – efficiently.