Many technological breakthroughs that might change the way we practice law in 2022 are not new. Some legal firms have readily embraced several technologies, while other firms were forced to adopt some to counteract the effects of having to work remotely during the pandemic. However, as we move into the post-pandemic world, these technological breakthroughs will significantly impact running a legal office.
#1.Virtual Conferencing and Hearings
In-person communications and hearings were how the law was practiced in the past. However, during the pandemic, all this changed. Meetings and trials were soon being conducted virtually, and many people have embraced this.
According to the 2020 Legal Trends report, 37% percent of legal clients don’t mind a virtual legal meeting for a first meeting or consultation. In addition, we have seen successful trials held entirely on Zoom in the courtroom, allowing courts to tackle the huge backlogs.
#2. Boosted Research and Background Searches
The success of any law firm depends on legal research and background searches of expert witnesses. These take time, and important details can often be overlooked, negatively impacting a case. Legal research tools give lawyers access to case law, regulations, case law, decisions, etc. Software that updates and retains witness information is also an invaluable addition to the modern law firm.
The face of legal research is changing through artificial intelligence (AI) implementation. ROSS Intelligence uses IBM Watson to do legal research automatically. This is conducted faster than current legal search engines are doing. AI is also used to create and review contracts a real-time-saver for lawyers.
#3. Secure File-Sharing Tools
The traditional way of sharing files in the practice of law, like sending them between offices and clients or sharing them by email, are not exactly secure.
Working remotely required more sophisticated and secure sharing solutions for communicating with clients, sharing case-related documents among colleagues, and getting signatures. Luckily, several solutions are available to law firms, including Dropbox and IBM Aspera. The best tools for a law practice offer flexibility, allow the revoking of access if needed, and offer regular and stringent security checks.
#4. Computer-Generated Evidence and Simulations
Software that can run all the possible scenarios of a car accident, crime scene, and ballistics calculations can help legal teams save time and money. In addition, these simulations and computer-generated evidence can replace expert witnesses, helping determine cases faster.
#5. Electronic Signatures
The technology that allows electronic signatures means that the legal office can now easily transition to going paperless. E-signatures are not legally binding in all situations (in some states, a will must still have a wet signature), but they make the completion of some documents fast and effortless. They save money and leave a smaller margin for human error. One of the most popular tools for e-signatures is the Clio Suite.
#6. Seamless Discovery Process
The discovery process and exchange of information between the parties involved in litigation usually means going through a significant amount of paperwork. The technology of eDiscovery makes it easier for a law firm to put the data together and share it. In addition, discovery software automates the process by filtering information while automatically scanning for viruses.
#7. Firm Profitability and Management
Productivity in a law firm is vital to ensuring it retains clients and turns a profit. Unfortunately, it is impossible to accurately track every lawyer’s time with clients and do the billing manually. Several legal tools offer automated features for tracking legal time and expenses, with automatic billing features.
Finally, every legal office can run more effectively if it takes advantage of the latest document automation tools. These streamline the process of preparing motions or writing letters, helping sync all the available information, and they store everything securely. For example, LawCloud and Clio Manage are tools for better legal office organization.
These are just some technological breakthroughs that are changing the way we practice law while also helping with law firm growth. Others include mobile apps, accepting online payments, and CRM tools.
Every law firm can become more efficient, profitable, and client-centered, even if it just starts by using the essential tools before graduating to the more sophisticated ones.