In an article published last year, Rachel Buchanan, a marketing executive at LexisNexis, called attention to how the law profession has embraced technology. Technology has enabled the law profession to automate processes and operate more like the business sector.
Part of what is spurring the technology revolution in law is the digitization of case law. Last year, the Harvard Law School Library announced the completion of its Caselaw Access Project (CAP), in which Harvard’s entire case law library was scanned, thereby digitizing 334 years of legal history. The CAP project makes state and federal decisions readily accessible to lawyers all over the U.S.
Technology makes lawyers’ jobs easier and improves the accessibility and quality of legal services while reducing costs.
Here are 5 ways technology is transforming the law:
1) Streamlining Lawyer/Client Communications
The 2017 Law Firm Flexibility Benchmarking Surveyfound that 64.7% of law firms allow their lawyers to telecommute. Setting up unified communication tools enable lawyers to work remotely while diversifying the ways they communicate with clients and each other.
By using these tools, lawyers are able to be more productive. Lawyers can communicate with clients wherever and whenever they are needed.
Unified Communication and Collaboration solutions allow lawyers and clients to communicate using instant messaging, email, voicemail, or web conferencing. Clients can talk with their attorneys over the Internet in lieu of traveling to a law office.
2) Automating eDiscovery
In preparing cases, lawyers need to spend many hours sifting through documents to find relevant evidence. Today, most of these documents are digital. Evidence could come from email, mobile devices, database archives, or IoT devices. eDiscovery tasks are often relegated to paralegals. Even so, the process can be costly to clients because of the time it takes.
eDiscovery automation software uses analytics to speed up the process. Advanced analytics can search for keywords and phrases. Automation also eliminates irrelevant documents, streamlining the process.
3) Simplifying Case Management
Digital business management platforms have been adapted to meet the needs of legal case management. The software allows lawyers to automate many of the processes associated with case management, including scheduling important dates, organizing contact lists, managing documents, and entering data for billing. All the relevant information is stored in a centralized database for easy access.
Digital case management makes it easier to share documents with other lawyers in the firm when necessary. Case management platforms may be web-based, making them accessible to lawyers who are working remotely on mobile devices.
4) Leveraging Analytics
Cognitive analytics help automate time-consuming and routine legal processes. Natural language processing can be used to examine textual threads and understand the context of complex statements in legal documents.
The tech startup LawGeex uses artificial intelligence to analyze contracts and automate the editing and approval process. The organization claims it can use analytics to reduce the cost of contract reviews by 90% and save law firms 80% of the time they normally devote to contract review tasks.
5) Creating Online Communities
Online communities can help disadvantaged and underserved communities gain access to pro bono legal advice, resources, and counseling. They also connect lawyers and law students so information can be shared and issues in the profession can be debated. The American Bar Association (ABA) has its own online community, LegallyMinded.
Social media is becoming more popular as a forum for lawyers to network and collaborate. LinkedIn is a logical choice for lawyers because of its focus on professional growth and networking. However, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube also have their benefits. Lawyers can participate in online discussions or post informational videos and links to articles.
Keeping Up With Technological Disruption
New software, platforms, and communications systems are transforming the law profession. Many law firms are embracing digital transformation. However, making this transformation requires the right technological foundation. Partnering with the ideal technology provider will give your organization access to the tools you need.
FirstLight provides a wide range of technology resources for law firms wishing to undergo digital transformation. We offer cloud and data center services that enable your business to run advanced applications and protect sensitive data. When you partner with us, you gain access to unified communications solutions and a super-fast fiber optic network so your lawyers can work more efficiently for their clients.