In the 21st century, the use of technology is inevitable. From small shopkeepers to giant corporations, lawyers to doctors, everyone relies on some form of technology. However, this field of technology is extremely dynamic. It is constantly evolving. It is therefore important for lawyers and law firms to keep pace with this ever-evolving growth of tech-enabled law practice.
Use of technology in legal field is not new
The legal field has used technology in the form of typewriters to dictation machines; well, technology has always been used in the legal field. Now, computers have replaced these machines, as personal computers have become more affordable. With the help of computers, we can do many more tasks easily and efficiently.
Lawyers and law firms regularly use word processing software programs like MS Word, to write and edit documents. Often board room or client meetings are accompanied by presentations. These presentations are made using programs like PowerPoint. Excel or similar programs are used to keep tabs on income and expenditure. However, today’s technology is much more than these software programs. So, let us see some of the technologies that are used in this field of tech-enabled law practice.
Lawyers also use emails in recent times. Earlier, physical letters were the primary means of legal communication, before emails were so widespread. However, sending letters through posts has several disadvantages. Firstly, it is very slow. Due to this fact, urgent information cannot be sent by post. Then also there is the fact that letters are often lost or misplaced. Emails on the other hand are delivered almost instantaneously. Due to this and the fact that email is legal evidence, lawyers use them a lot these days.
The year 2020 has taught us many things. One of the important things being social distancing. This has led to the growth of virtual hearings. This is because the courts are closed for most people in order to maximize social distancing.
Through video conferencing apps two or more people can talk to each other through video using a device like a computer or a smartphone. In this way, people can see and talk with each other from their homes. Some of the popular video conferencing apps include Zoom, Google Meet, Teams, etc.
These apps are extremely useful for lawyers as virtual court hearings are impossible without them. However, outside these virtual hearings, such video conferencing apps can also be useful. It is often not possible for a client to approach a lawyer or a law firm physically. Earlier these types of interactions used to be along with phone calls or through letters. However, with the digital revolution, it has become more convenient for clients to approach a lawyer or a law firm from far-away locations. It is a lot more continent for people to use a video conferencing app than a long phone call.
Legal Management System
A legal management system is an application that is a must for tech-enabled law practice. You can easily manage your clients and their cases using such applications. There are a variety of such applications available in the market.
With the use of these legal management applications, you can track your clients and cases very efficiently. With these applications, you can categorize your clients and your cases into different folders. This helps in organizing your work efficiently. You can also set reminders that will remind you of your upcoming cases.
Legodesk offers a cloud-based solution to all these problems. You can access their services from any device at any time. This is a benefit of cloud-based software. They also provide a secure platform to store all your client and case information remotely and securely so you don’t have to worry about storing your important data. This type of solution is also useful as you don’t have to worry even if your computer breaks down.
Machine Learning and AI
Machine Learning along with Artificial Intelligence are some of the newest technologies available. Although not widely used in the legal field currently, it looks very promising. With machine learning and artificial intelligence, you can analyze lots and lots of documents before making an informed decision.
Machine Learning or deep learning computers becomes better at tasks with experience. It involves three basic steps:
- Gather necessary information and data
- Analyzing the information gathered using a suitable data model
- Making decisions and predictions based on the understanding of the data
These techniques help to automate several tasks to a great extent. This can result in huge gains in productivity providing cost savings. It can free humans from routine tasks, as the computer is capable to handle them. A computer can read and analyze various case studies, before selecting the necessary documents. It can then identify the important parts of the documents. Finally, it can suggest steps to take in order to solve the current problem.
Protecting your data is extremely important. As a lawyer or a law firm, it is important to store all your data securely. Security breaches and ransomware attacks are extremely common these days. One of the most basic data security measures is to store all case and client information in an encrypted form.
The encryption process uses a key or a “password” to transform the data before storing it. In other words, no one can access this encrypted information without the key or the “password”. This ensures that no one can access your information even if a system is compromised. However, it is also important to store several backup copies of all your important data. This ensures data is not lost in the event that a system is compromised.
Say, a type of ransomware infects your computer. Ransomware is a malicious program that locks you out of your computer and demands a ransom for you to get back access to your computer. If you have a backup of all your data, then there is no need for you to pay the ransom. Also, since your data was already encrypted, the possibility of your sensitive data being misused is minimized. Therefore encryption and backup of sensitive data are extremely important. Keeping your data encrypted also protects you against hacking attacks.
Although as great it might sound, tech-enabled law practice has its fair share of challenges. Some of the challenges include:
- Lack of understanding: The are a lot of lawyers who are not comfortable with the use of technology. They rely on others for even basic tasks like typing a word document. Still, there are a lot more people who do not understand the importance of things like data security, and how important it is to store data securely.
- Financial Constraints: The use of technology always comes at a cost. Sometimes the cost required to set up a robust system is huge. It is not possible for small lawyers or law firms to invest in such technologies from the very beginning.
- Organizational Issues: The use of technology in law practices has transformed the industry completely. However, there might individuals may not want to invest in such technologies it is not a proven business model.
There is no denying that tech-enabled law practice is the future. It is inevitable. The faster one gets used to using these new technologies, the better it is. This year 2020 has made us realize that we can do much more with the help of technology. Due to a lack of understanding of technology, people sometimes develop a fear of technology. Being afraid to use technologies is of no use. One must overcome these prejudices against technologies because it is the future.
With the cost of tech products coming down with each passing year, technology is reaching its masses. More and more people rely on technologies these days. So is the use of tech-enabled legal practices. It is therefore advisable for lawyers and law firms to start using these modern technologies as soon as possible.