Technology in the workplace has changed drastically within the last decade and continues to change at a rapid pace still. It is a fact that technology in law has made the workplace easier and faster to complete tasks. For those working in different markets of law, the evolution of tech is fueled primarily by embracing its acceptance and adopting it. Oftentimes people are resistant to change, however, it is hard to disagree with techs such as word processing, artificial intelligence, analytics, project management software, and internet law startups. Having said that, the article will outline some of the most influential technology changes in legal practice.
Internet Law Startups
Major advances in legal research came with firms such as Westlaw which was the first web version equivalent of google for legal search. This startup used machine learning in order to deliver the best possible search results. Startups became more advanced in the legal internet search with companies like Casetext that would allow its users to upload their briefs, scan them and find the most relevant cases. Other large startups such as Clio revolutionized legal practice ensuring lawyers are running a more efficient practice by adopting project management software that aids with the day-to-day workflows and business operations of law firms. These types of startup software can help with contracts, scheduling, arranging documents, billing, payments, and communications. It is a one-stop-shop from the practice management side that has helped law businesses run efficiently and reduce the number of admin workers needed for practice.
Most law companies have moved over all their data on the cloud. Cloud simply means servers that are accessed over the internet, they are usually managed by a third-party company such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. This means that firms can access their data wherever they are and do not need to worry about investing and implementing expensive tech hardware such as servers but can leave that to the experts.
With the rapid improvement of cellular devices we now have phones that can act like computers made from a decade ago, in fact, some of the newer phones are more powerful. Smart devices have enabled lawyers to essentially work from anywhere and always be a short reach to their clients. Essentially all communications have moved away from the desk and to our portable smart devices, from sending emails to researching law cases on the cloud, our phones can do it all.
Artificial Intelligence in Law
Artificial intelligence in the law office is not science fiction anymore and has gained major popularity over the past 5 years. In the United States, of the $1 billion invested in legal tech in 2018, over $362 million was given to companies working on artificial intelligence in the law practice. Artificial intelligence will essentially turn most lawyers into data managers and help them avoid mistakes in their cases. A simple search could end up giving you hundreds of similar cases through e-discovery. This will substantially aid in most lawyers better tending to their client’s needs from a technical standpoint.
Data-Driven Legal Practice
Fortunately for clients, lawyers have moved on from giving advice based on intuition and experience by using a more data-driven analytical approach to advise them. The clearest example of data-driven law has been in litigation cases where analytic software tools gather data from previous court documents and apply that to your client needs to predict the most likely outcomes for their particular case. Analytics is also used in other facets of law such as business developments, where law firms are ranked and leads are established by linking the best lawyers that specialize in different niches together. Lawyer rankings have also become popular for clients to read reviews and decide on which lawyer they want to hire for their specific case. Other applications of data and analytics include legislative tracking and public law records.