Market Disruption in the Legal Industry

Sep 27, 2018, 4:06:21 AM / by Myron Westmoreland

Market disruption in the legal industry can be defined as technological advances that have attracted new clients and improved the processes of law firms. The technological changes includes predictive software, case management software, digital documents, and data processing to name a few. This article will attempt to bring some clarity to how market disruption impacts the legal industry.

Market Disruption

According to investopedia market disruption is where markets fail to function in a normal capacity due to rapidly declining markets (investopedia staff,2018). Since the business of law fluctuates in value and income according to conditions in the economy, market disruption is key to understanding a firms overall performance within the economic scale. To be clearer, law influences the market and the market influences the law by the way it is applied, interpreted, and changed. Hence, the law is not static but the law and law firms are endogenously coevolutionary (Edelman and Suchman, 1997) which in a way creates disruption.


The ability to be innovative and move beyond the traditional operational methods is imperative in shaping a firms value in a disruptive market. Failure to adapt and integrate new strategic action plans can decrease a law firms value and hurt its competitive advantage (Bagley, 2008). In addition, Wood said it best in that society grants rights and power to businesses (Wood, 1991). Therefore, law firms must understand the products that are disrupting their market and adapt.

Predictive Analytics

What is Predictive analytics and how is it disrupting the legal market? Predictive analytics is described as the use of statistical algorithms, machine learning techniques,artificial intelligence, and specific data to identify future outcomes. The process of predictive analytics includes; defining the project, data collection and analysis, modeling, statistics, deployment, and and model monitoring. The use of predictive analytics in the legal market is expanding in identifying and reducing risks, improving a firms operations, and to identify specific patterns in data to predict the outcomes of complex legal cases( see Premonition website .

Data Processing


Black’s Law Dictionary defines data processing as 1. an operation that is done on a data set to get information on the appropriate for. A diagram, report, or table is an example. Refer to electronic data processing. 2. changing data with a program to get the output they want in the form they want. Data analysis technology is another technological product that is a disrupter in the legal market. Law firms contain a plethora of personal data on personnel, clients, and business activities. This type of processing includes consultation, retrieval, collection, storage, recording, alteration, dissemination, and use and disclosure by transmission, to name a few. Hence, legal astute managers will identify the importance of data processing, which is an imperative component for law firms, and determine how to implement it into their organization. Data processing can also add value to a law firm because it can be used to analyze client needs and develop a strategy to meet those needs.

Digital Documents

The term Digital document is ambiguous. Emails and text messages can be considered digital documents, however the term digital documents can include contracts, invoices, and other legal documents created and stored in document management software. This technology is highly useful in the legal market as it allows law firms to streamline their products by capturing and organizing documents. This new technology does not mean that the traditional method of pen and paper are out of touch (Hall and Oats, 1984) because keeping hard copies are important. By capitalizing on digital document technology law firms can create a centralized depository that can be integrated into CRM software, accounting, emails, and mobile phones for team collaboration.

At this point legal astute managers can see how these few examples of modern technological advances have impacted the legal industry and disrupted the market. That said, there are a variety of technological tools that law firms can use to increase value and generate new clients by innovating, adapting, and integrating.

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Myron Westmoreland

Written by Myron Westmoreland

Myron Westmoreland is a Texas native who works for Darden Law and Terra Intelligence. Myron holds a MA in Biblical Interpretation and a MSc in Criminal Justice from the University of Portsmouth UK. An avid sports fan (Patriots, 49ers, and Spurs) you can find him coaching beginners and competition tennis for a premier sports league.

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