New technology has been a driving force in changing how lawyers work today. It is clear digital transformation is helping lawyers to practice law more efficiently, effectively, and increase access to legal services to clients.
Here are five ways technology is changing the legal profession now and in the future.
1. Artificial intelligence
In simple terms, artificial intelligence (AI) allows machines to learn from experience (machine learning). AI is powered by natural language processing and deep learning technologies, which can be utilised to process vast amounts of data and find patterns.
Legal research of documents for evidence can be very time-consuming and costly to clients. AI-driven tools, such as predictive coding, can comb through massive databases for eDiscovery, identifying and collecting information specifically related to certain parameters.
AI tools also make contract review far more accurate, analysing for risk and fairness, and flag any potential problems within a contract. Contract management software identifies keywords and conditions, which simplifies the process of contract creation and review, reducing risk for both legal team and clients.
2. Big data analytics
The vast amount of data available to the legal sector today makes it imperative to use analytic software to understand and use that data. Big data analytics in legal tech enables deeper visibility into the large and varied databases available, identifying patterns, trends, correlations and client behaviour.
Many different technologies can analyse enormous amounts of historical legal data, including natural-language processing and machine-learning. This is known as descriptive analytics. It can generate insights to help with the day-to-day practice management, whether that is staff performance or explaining new regulations. Analytics can also identify legal trends or analyse client behaviour, to better determine the likely outcomes of cases, come up with strategy, make an estimation of the value of a case, forecast litigation cost and make crucial decisions.
Predictive analytics is a way to figure out what will happen based on past behaviour and current data. This functionality may be useful in certain practice areas, particularly where cost analysis is crucial. AI tools can work out what cases are similar and give people an idea of what the case will close at and how much to award.
Prescriptive analytics is a type of analytics that, in the context of law, allows lawyers to compare and contrast various scenarios based on when they have access to historical trends and current data.
Predictive analytics provide insight into what might happen in the future, but prescriptive analytics guide you on how to act now. While predictive analytics understands risk, it’s difficult for them to get inside your head about what will actually get the desired outcome.
3. New business models
Technology is helping lawyers create new ways to run a legal practice. With many legal firms moving away from traditional “billable hours” models, and more legal staff adopting flexible working arrangements, digital transformation of the legal profession has become a necessity.
Communication with clients and colleagues is enabled through web conferencing and email. Law chatbots, platforms, and “law firms without lawyers” may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but are beginning to appear as an answer to low-cost law services, utilising the power of AI. Lawyer AI chatbots successfully perform tasks that are time-consuming and simple, and free law platforms help people with family law agreements at low cost.
While technology is useful, this doesn’t necessarily mean it will replace actual lawyers. Rather, it is a way to streamline processes, ensuring lawyers are able to work more efficiently and move away from the traditional grind of legal work.
4. Blockchain tech
Blockchain technology is becoming more popular and disruptive every day. It offers solutions for businesses that aren’t unlike other new technologies like apps or the internet. However, it does offer something that other technologies don’t – the transparency and security of the blockchain ledger.
Legal firms can benefit from the use of blockchain to store and validate records of transactions. This helps maintain an accurate chain of custody and other legitimate activity with all transactions being verifiable. As a result, the legal profession will be able to function in a more efficient manner. Blockchain tech can be used with smart or digital contracts, protection of intellectual property, property rights, litigation and settlements, etc.
5. Cloud technology
Cloud computing is one of the best examples of disruptive technology today. Many businesses are adopting the cloud to benefit from the ease of access and increase efficiency it provides. Cloud computing provides services such as data storage, servers, software, analytics, and more over the internet.
Adoption of cloud computing allows the legal industry to store and easily retrieve information wherever they are – at court or when remote working. It is a much more cost-effective option for legal professionals, particularly as 98% of law firms are essentially small businesses. As the legal profession is governed by very strict regulations with regards to client confidentiality, utilising the agility of security for cloud computing is incredibly important.
Legal technology is the way forward and having the right partner to help your business embrace this future is important. Speak to the IT experts at Network IQ to leverage the best of today’s technology for your business.