Legal Tech refers to the technology used in the legal sector. It has significantly transformed how attorneys and other legal professionals perform their duties. Moreover, it has brought a lot of opportunities for law offices (solo legal practices, law firms, and corporate/government legal departments) by digitally transforming legal operations, helping them meet client demands efficiently and timely.
More interestingly, the scope and adoption of technology are not limited to top legal organizations. Small-size law firms and even legal startups have also invested in technology, taking advantage of the opportunities it offers.
4 Ways Technology is Transforming the Legal Sector:
Advanced technologies simplify lawyers’ work and improve legal services’ quality, all while reducing operational costs. Here’s how.
Bridging Communication Gaps between Lawyers & Clients
Lawyers can now collaborate more effectively with their teams and establish a flexible, more secure medium to communicate with clients by utilizing unified communication tools. This can result in enhanced productivity and client satisfaction.
The Era of Automated eDiscovery
Searching for documents and highlighting or tagging relevant evidence pieces are parts of case preparation that consume a lot of time. Nowadays, most of the paperwork is digital; here, eDiscovery automation software (powered with advanced analytics) can automatically find and tag keywords and key phrases and eliminate irrelevant documents, helping attorneys speed up the entire process.
Case Management Becoming Easier
Many software on the market enable attorneys to manage different case management functions using one platform. For instance, schedule preparation, contact-list organization, document management, billing data entry, etc., are now easier to manage. Besides, any cloud-based case management software allows attorneys to store all the case-relevant data (helpful information) in a centralized location and access it anytime from anywhere. This is even more beneficial for those working remotely.
The Rise Attorneys’ Online Communities
By coming together in large numbers, attorneys create community groups, most often to help people who don’t have access to professional legal advice and counseling. Another motive is to include law students and solo attorneys in community groups and discuss several legal profession-related topics, such as issues, trends, news, etc.
Social media sites and apps, especially Twitter and LinkedIn, are becoming more popular as a forum platform for attorneys to connect with other legal professionals and establish a strong network in the industry.
Challenges Brought by Technology for the Legal World
Undoubtedly, technology is making an attorney's job and life more manageable. However, it also brings along various challenges; let’s discuss a few.
The Sudden Knock on The Door
A few years back, the sudden occurrence of the technology revolution has left many attorneys (mostly veterans) baffled in their profession. Typical legal processes such as research, documentation, case preparation, etc., used to be managed manually. However, with digitization, many legal tasks are handled by automation-powered software and tools, arising several challenges for attorneys.
Lack of Technical Knowledge & Expertise
Many legal professionals are still unable to understand which technologies are best for their practice and how to make the best use of them to obtain favorable results. Due to this, many law firms often choose legal process management services provided by external firms having skilled legal professionals with all required technical knowledge and capabilities.
Issues on Organizational Level
Due to the rapid and intense emergence of technology in legal, lawyers and law firms need a massive operational overhaul, transforming several processes. From lead generation to revenue recognition, everything needs to be changed now. Consequently, law firms now have to deal with challenging situations such as determining the usage scope of legal tech, developing new business models, establishing policies, etc.
The cost of technology adoption and maintenance put a question on many law firms’ budgets, forcing them to think twice before making any tech investment. Many legal organizations overlook the advantages of technology for their practice because of financial problems.
Nowadays, individuals or businesses in legal need would prefer choosing a tech-driven legal services firm. Besides attracting more potential clients, here are some other benefits of the continuously growing legal tech.
Benefits of Legal Tech
Reduction in Manual Effort
Legal tech, for example, data processing, document management, eDiscovery software, etc., automatically manages these processes, allowing lawyers to free up a significant amount of time. As a result, they can utilize this time to communicate with clients and prepare case files for the effective representation of clients in the courtroom.
Research Work becomes Easy
Legal research tools assist lawyers in becoming updated about different rules and regulations. Such software can also identify relevant documents on the internet, shortlist them, and even highlight key phrases that can be helpful for an attorney to make their argument stronger.
Better Management of Resources
Various applications for title management and calendaring allow attorneys to efficiently manage work related to titles and get valuable insights regarding all tasks scheduled for a particular workday. This enables senior attorneys to utilize resources (paralegals or other clerical staff members) more effectively, bringing better results.
Minimized Risk of Mistakes/Errors
Tech-driven data entry and management solutions restrict access to sensitive and confidential information a law firm holds, for instance, clients’ case details. Besides, integrating such tools with analytics can help make better use of the available data.
With the help of reliable law practice management software, law firms can better control their processes and eliminate workflow issues. These software record real-time information (for example, how much time a paralegal has to spend on a particular client’s case) in a centralized, secure location. This data can then be used for billing and analyze staff performance, productivity, and much more.
Excellent Customer Experience
Using AI-powered legal software, attorneys can send personalized emails to clients. Also, by collecting client data, such software allow law firms understand their clients’ need better, helping them meet their demands well in time. Thus, legal tech can help law firms enhance clients’ experience by providing highly customized legal services.
Solo attorneys, law firms (of all sizes), and corporate/government legal departments must become aware of the technology they can use to improve legal operations. Since many legal processes are shifting toward digital platforms, they need to catch up with legal tech trends and adopt all easily applicable tools. It is time not to be afraid of being replaced by that might be developed in the near future; instead, it is time to gain knowledge, improve technical skills, and utilize technology for the betterment of legal functions, processes, and the overall growth of legal business at large.