Prior to the pandemic, the legal sector was able to avoid major change when it came to technology. However, today there are new pressures placed on the industry in this new digital world. Customer expectations have changed. To remain competitive in the market, lawyers have needed to adapt. In order to communicate effectively with clients and to carry on business, technology has become a necessity.
There are new technology tools that have driven change in the industry in customer-facing processes like contract management, legal research, discovery, as well as back-end processes like practice management and billing. There is no denying that technology has the ability to reshape the industry for the better.
Technology can improve productivity, service delivery and reduce overheads, for example, cloud-based technologies like software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service. While there has been some hesitancy to embrace this technology in the industry due to cyber-security concerns, technology is catching up in this space and warrants exploration.
What would have otherwise been a face-to-face meeting can now be conducted over mobile devices on video chat. While being mindful of ethical obligations, social media has provided lawyers with the opportunities to share opinions, network, publish content and market their services.
There are various technology trends that predominately larger firms in the legal industry are leveraging. These include:
There are over one thousand legal software programs out there to help lawyers get their work done. But lawyers should do their homework first and shouldn’t just trust that programs will do what they say they do.
There are some interesting tech savvy tools being introduced to the industry in Australia. SettlePro, a firm that helps plaintiffs reach fair financial settlements in legal disputes, has created an online calculator to be used to assist family lawyers fast-track property settlements for clients. It calculates the percentage and amount of the asset pool a client is likely to receive based on similar cases.
The legal tech company Smarter Drafter has developed technology that automates the drafting of legal documents. It currently offers 96 different types of automated legal documents across estate planning, intellectual property, commercial, property, employment, and family law.
Another company, Smokeball, has developed “autotime” using cloud-based technology to track the hours worked by lawyers whether they are at home or in the office. It’s a way for legal organisations to accurately bill for their services.
With the need for legal professionals to work from home during lockdowns and beyond this into the future, a virtual law practice is an idea that the industry must strive towards. In this new world, all that will be needed is an internet connection. Continuity is essential and as such, flexibility is required to provide an uninterrupted legal service to clients that is secure, fast, and reliable.
Technology advances and emerging technologies have created new opportunities for the legal profession. Talk to the technology experts at Essential Tech to find out how your law firm can take advantage of technology to help your legal practice thrive.
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