Technology is taking the world by storm, and the past decades have shown how this booming and ever-evolving industry has revolutionized the way we work, communicate, and go about our day to day lives. While some industries are able to resist change, the legal sector is already on its way to becoming entirely altered by it.
Technology used in the legal industry—better known as legal technology—is not an entirely new concept, given how technology has always played an essential role. Our post on ‘What the Heck is LegalTech – An Introduction to and an Overview of the Technology Disrupting the Legal Profession’ discussed how some of the most recent advancements in legal tech have been instrumental in changing the legal profession altogether. Advancements such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics have had the greatest contribution in transforming the legal industry.
Similar to other industries, the use of technology has been crucial in improving efficiency. Take, for instance, cloud computing. Through cloud-based programs, both big and small firms are able to manage data gathered from their clients in a more organized and secure manner. The CIO Review stated that these types of programs have enabled them to compile every single bit of data they produce and come up with valuable insights that not only help them to arrive at more informed decisions in the future. In another example, The Balance noted that legal technology helped in making databases more accessible to lawyers located in different areas. Lawyers no longer need to go to dedicated libraries to conduct legal research, verify case laws, or track data due to the emergence of electronic legal research applications that allows access to multiple databases.
Arguably, legal technology has the most significant impact on how legal services are being delivered. Forbes noted that law firm owners who wish to thrive in the legal industry must take it upon themselves to subscribe to a new delivery model that will place customers at the center, utilise data, and, most importantly, invest in human capital. Legal service providers must focus on continuously training their workforce and incorporating technology with human resources. Given all these, it only makes sense that legal technology also plays a role in shaping the lawyers of today. Some of the ways in which lawyers are being changed by legal tech are:
Fostering a collaborative culture
Legal technology has opened up a new market that comes with multiple opportunities. For instance, the growing use of electronic litigation database tools has given birth to a new profession called litigation support professionals. Through this, lawyers are now compelled to work with professionals from other fields. Special Counsel underlines that having a consultative partnership with specialists from different technological areas can help in achieving a more effective way of delivering services. The profession has shifted from being a sole-source, pedigree, and labour-centred profession into one that encourages collaboration and partnerships. Although the difference in practices remain, the use of legal tech has provided a common ground for lawyers everywhere.
Becoming computer literate
While most lawyers nowadays were most likely in an age where technology was just being developed, legal technology asks that all lawyers be computer literate and tech-savvy in order to fully reap the benefits that come with its advancements. In addition, clients are now expecting their lawyers to be easily reachable through various channels, and that information regarding their cases and files are just as easily accessible. Law Technology Today is quick to emphasises that legal skills are no longer the only basis of being an outstanding lawyer–it also depends on how many innovations a lawyer can offer to solve pressing issues.
Developing legal intuition
While new lawyers may be at an advantage when it comes to being tech-savvy compared to their predecessors, developing legal intuition is something that can only be achieved through years of practice. Luckily, Lexology noted that there are tools such as Foresight, which help validate the instinct of a new lawyer against a hundred others who have ruled on a particular issue. These applications provide newbies with clarity on how a particular issue must be approached and at the same time help them develop their own legal instinct.
Seeing their practice in a new light
Being a lawyer is an arduous task. Right off the bat, studying law already entails having to read case after case and practicing law is very similar. Business Times claims that lawyers are often so busy practicing law that they don’t have the opportunity to think about their profession. As legal tech increases efficiency and makes the time-consuming tasks more manageable, lawyers can now afford to look deeper into their profession and at the same time, focus on career growth and become more competitive.
This post is written and contributed by Arthur Mills. Arthur worked for financial companies before deciding to leave the corporate realm and become a freelancer. He now takes on consultancy projects, as well as writing opportunities that cover economy, business and tech.