Tech is here to stay, and there is no middle ground for anyone, even lawyers. For a profession practiced with manual tools for centuries, the influx of legal tech caused a huge sigh of relief for everyone in the industry today.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic played a major role in influencing the administration of technological tools in the legal process. For instance, groundbreaking tools such as LexisNexis and Westlaw have set the legal world upon this path since the late twentieth century.
However, telecommuting culture’s proliferation shined a global spotlight on some technological tools that are changing the legal industry in 2021. In this article, we will discuss some of the most proficient among these technologies.
Lawyers have long been known for their sharp wit, keen analytical skills, and command over legal knowledge. However, in today’s fast-paced digital age, lawyers are also becoming increasingly reliant on technology to keep up with the demands of their profession.
In this comprehensive, SEO-optimized guide, we’ll explore the technologies that lawyers use, why these tools are essential, what technologies are most frequently used, and what makes lawyers so powerful in society.
What Technology Do Lawyers Use?
Case Management Software
From organizing case files to tracking deadlines, case management software helps lawyers keep all critical information in one easily accessible place. Popular examples include Clio and MyCase.
Legal Research Tools
Platforms like LexisNexis and Westlaw provide comprehensive databases of legal statutes, case law, and journals, making the research process more efficient.
Document Automation Software
Document automation tools help lawyers create contracts, wills, and other legal documents more quickly by using templates and automated data entry.
Virtual Meeting Tools
With the rise of remote work, platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have become essential for client consultations, depositions, and even virtual court appearances.
Used primarily in litigation, e-discovery software helps lawyers sift through mountains of digital records to find evidence that can be used in court.
Digital Dictation Tools
Digital dictation and transcription services allow lawyers to quickly transcribe meetings, interviews, and memos, thus saving time and labor.
Electronic discovery is one of the biggest technological advances that has found its way into the legal world. And it was high time it did. Given that legal proceedings are as old as the modern world itself, lawyers often have to scour hundreds of cabinets and drawers to retrieve relevant files during the initial phase of litigation.
With eDiscovery technology, record storage and retrieval have taken a new face. There is now a free legal database where lawyers can easily source case files using specific keywords and e-Discovery tools capable of accessing a large volume of information in any section of a legal enterprise.
The impact of these tools on facilitating legal advice and legal research is massive, and its advancement will help lawyers be more accessible and helpful.
2. Automation Technology
Given the large volume of the enterprise process involved in the legal industry, lawyers cannot always guarantee efficiency and speed. In 2021, lawyers are now embracing process automation tools to ensure that their business process is completed faster with automation technology.
Today, lawyers can track office activities, do financial computations, collaborate with team members remotely or even prepare various legal documents easily, all in one place. These tools can also break down the complex process that humans would rather be less efficient.
These automation technologies can efficiently handle activities like appointment reminders, payment tracking, and online booking. Should we also mention that some automation technologies are furnished with Cloud Technology? Legal documents are very sensitive materials, and cloud technology protects them against any human or natural hazard.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence and its variants, Augmented Reality and Virtual reality, are all common terms today. Despite the immense impact on all industries, it is very uncommon in the legal profession in most of the world.
In 2019, a team of law students at the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law simulated a close-to-real crime scene with 360-degree cameras.
Such an experiment brings them closer to the scientific channel of the profession with minimal risk. While this technology is still in the law profession’s growth stage, there are lots of speculations about the immense level of advancement it could reach in 2021.
Similarly, AI tools are also capable of learning predictive coding to help lawyers with complex aspects of their job, or even redline a contract and save law organizations significant time.
This tool can be trained to automatically seek thousands of files according to their order of importance, following set keywords.
4. Big Data and analytics
The role of data cannot be replaced in enterprise management. With Big Data technology, lawyers are at liberty to automatically analyze a high volume of data quickly and efficiently in order to generate expert insights about certain proceedings or those related to it.
As the legal profession enters into a data-driven era, smart lawyers can deploy big data technology to mine valuable information from various sources to support a claim in ways more than one. Doing this will usually guarantee more success in the courtroom.
5. Machine Learning
Machine learning incorporates some of the features of process automation technology and big data analytics. It is common for some document management tools to have machine learning features incorporated within them.
However, machine learning as a standalone tool plays an important role in maintaining law firm efficiency in 2021. With tools such as Optical Character Recognition, lawyers can scan written texts into editable formats.
This technology also makes the transfer of signatures faster and less strenuous. There is also an advanced natural language machine learning technology for the legal profession.
With such a tool, lawyers can use voice control to carry out research. Most notably, some machine learning tools are designed to address beyond the keyword level and return results based on context.
Why Do Lawyers Use Technology?
Technological tools help lawyers streamline their workflow, allowing them to serve more clients in less time.
Automation and database tools reduce the risk of human errors, which can be costly in legal proceedings.
Technology enables quicker response times and higher transparency, leading to increased client satisfaction.
Early adopters of new legal technologies can gain a competitive advantage over other firms.
What Do Lawyers Use the Most?
Case management software and legal research platforms are the most commonly used technological tools in the legal field. These platforms are essential for maintaining an organized case file and staying up-to-date on the most recent legal precedents and regulations.
Why Are Lawyers Powerful?
- Knowledge and Expertise: Lawyers possess specialized knowledge of the law, making them indispensable in legal matters.
- Skill in Negotiation: Lawyers are trained negotiators, capable of securing favorable deals and outcomes for their clients.
- Authority and Trust: As officers of the court, lawyers command a certain level of authority and are often trusted advisors in various matters.
- Access to Resources: Lawyers often have extensive networks and access to resources that can be leveraged to benefit their clients.
- Advocacy Skills: Lawyers are effective advocates who can represent interests across different forums, including courts, boardrooms, and even in the public eye.
Although modern technology facilitation for legal practice is still in the infancy stage, lawyers are already making great use. Today, lawyers can now simulate various scenarios based on specific case data and carry out data-enabled research on each observation.
Similarly, modern technologies enable lawyers to manage enterprise activities properly with automation tools and machine learning algorithms. Technology has significantly impacted the legal profession, creating a more efficient, accurate, and competitive environment.
While the power of lawyers can largely be attributed to their specialized knowledge and skills, technology plays an increasingly critical role in augmenting their capabilities. Understanding the intersection of law and technology can provide unique insights into the evolving landscape of the legal profession.