In recent years, the need for technology to help us with our practices has become a hot topic of debate. IT Business mentions that the legal profession tends to lag in technological innovation. While this isn’t true for all firms, there’s little doubt about why legal firms tend to avoid technological innovation. The legal industry is a stable profession based on tried and true foundational principles. Technology, most particularly disruptive tech, changes daily, and lawyers are usually not comfortable with something so fickle. Yet the advantages that technology can bring to a legal profession are unquestionable. Here, we’ll look at a few tech innovations that can benefit a legal office immensely.
The cloud is an innovation that most of us use in our daily lives. However, according to the America Bar Association (ABA), lawyers are decidedly less excited about this technology than the rest of the world. The ABA notes that usage of cloud services such as Dropbox or Google Drive went up from 55% in 2018 to 58% in 2019, a nearly imperceptible jump. There have been news reports about cloud data breaches, suggesting why more lawyers aren’t integrating the tech into their work. However, a more in-depth analysis of those stories shows that cloud security breaches are primarily due to non-professional practices in server setup instead of anything fundamentally risky about the technology.
Cloud data storage and computing increase the flexibility and agility of a legal firm. With more law firms looking at remote employees being a crucial part of the business, the cloud can provide access to sensitive files off the company’s server to lawyers working in remote locations. It also enables members of a law firm to roam much further afield, yet still be able to update timesheets or documents without having to come into the office.
Nothing can predict the future, but analytics does an excellent job of giving you the probability of an outcome. Above The Law notes that analytical systems can collect and aggregate data about a type of case and then deliver potential results based on available evidence. For many legal practices, this information can be priceless, since it can immediately show the current chances of a positive outcome and what they can do to make those chances better. Analytics get better as more data comes in. For legal practices looking at using analytics in this way, their ability to predict outcomes accurately will only continue to rise as more cases are decided.
While it’s not guaranteed, it does offer a lot better insight into cases than the current system. Additionally, it can provide a lawyer with the required reading on the subject, including previous landmark cases and other common-law necessities. This level of research could take a law clerk hours if not days to get done, yet an analytics engine can deliver the most “weighty” decisions directly to an attorney so that he or she can prepare a defense.
A Change In The Winds
Technology isn’t going away. As humans, we have to understand how to exist alongside tech and benefit from its impact on our lives. The legal profession has avoided technology for so long that it’s one of the few industries that is only now beginning to see the use that already adopted tech can have on their business model. Even customer support technology like Customer Relationship Management hubs tied to AI chatbots are making inroads into legal professions around the globe. While the industry may not like the new, quickly changing technology, continuing to avoid it will leave firms at a marked disadvantage to their peers that embrace emerging tech with open arms.