In today’s fast-paced world, technological innovations occur practically every single minute in almost every industry — and the legal profession is no exception.
From court hearings via ZOOM and other online communications app to electronic filing of cases and appeals, law schools and courtrooms are adapting their daily functions to suit appropriate technological breakthroughs.
But, should it be the case? Couldn’t the legal profession just stick to its old guns and not bother itself with the intricacies of technology?
Well, unless they wish to be left out and be treated like museum pieces, lawyers, judges, and court employees must embrace technology as it applies to their specific functions.
Here are some of the best ways technology is shaping the legal profession:
1. It helps automate lawyers’ tasks.
According to a CNBC article, experts estimate that roughly 23% of tasks performed by lawyers can be automated.
These could include heavily manual tasks such as scanning legal documents, sourcing casework related to lawyers’ current cases, and streamlining communications among lawyers, clients, and courts.
Accordingly, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence or AI are particularly of tremendous help in automating legal tasks.
By embracing such technological innovations, law firms and law schools alike could ensure their survival in a profession that is rapidly turning a new leaf with each year.
2. Virtual law offices help cut costs and increase attorney-client convenience.
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, law firms have been forced to set up virtual offices to continue offering depositions or reliable judicial arbitration and mediation services. And it seems that this kind of arrangement between attorneys and their clients will go on even after the pandemic is over.
While it’s true that there is a learning curve associated with such a technological innovation, lawyers and clients are both seeing the wisdom behind such a move.
Not only does it help both sides save money, but it also makes things more convenient for them since they don’t have to leave home to drive to the law office for their scheduled consultations and other activities.
3. Legal research is becoming increasingly effortless.
Algorithms used by law firms are becoming increasingly sophisticated, which makes legal research a veritable walk in the park.
These algorithms have reached a level of sophistication that computers can now sift through millions of legal documents fed to databases like Lexis Nexis and then effortlessly find the ones relevant to a lawyer’s case.
What used to be done manually by a throng of legal researchers toiling for hundreds of hours can now be accomplished in a few hours.
4. It forces lawyers to learn new technologies.
From learning how to send an electronic bill to managing cases electronically, lawyers are being forced to study new technologies related to their daily functions.
Some of these new technologies being used in the legal profession include E-Discovery, video conferencing, E-filing, and electronic case management.
For some, the experience of learning new technologies is a laborious and annoying process; however, forward-thinking lawyers know that it is something inevitable.
5. Law schools are increasing their value propositions.
Law schools all over the US are currently racing against each other to land top students by increasing their value propositions every way they can.
Penn Law, for one, has the Future of the Profession Initiative program that aims to put a premium on technological innovations in the legal profession.
Other schools, meanwhile, provide students with continuing legal education options that are available in both face to face and online platforms.
Truly, technology will continue to mold the legal profession for decades to come.
Only by adapting to it can law schools and law offices expect to stay relevant and effective in discharging their duties to students and clients alike.