Technology adaptation in law and legal firms have had a slow start. LexisNexis started the revolution by digitizing case law and journals in the 1970s and WestLaw followed the example in the 1990s—and paper slowly replaced email. Yet, as Josh Harder and Bob Goodman wrote in 2014, the average law firm hasn’t changed much in terms of customer experience for more than a century. Law Changes for Career Development have been slow since firms are mostly cost-agnostic as any extra cost normally flows seamlessly to the client. So, the model doesn’t provide any incentive to introduce technology for law firms because higher efficiency implies less billable hours.
But things have been changing in technology and law over the years. Let us look at these developments in technology and law and also see how technology already and will impact legal careers.
Development in Technology and The Law
In 2012, the American Bar Association revised its Rules of Professional Conduct to demand lawyers to remain updated with the risks and advantages linked with important technology. The winds of change were blowing already. More clients were adapting to technology and hiring legal counsel in-house to cut expenses.
Time pressure and demands increased, and more significantly, the industry of technology for law firms boomed. The risks of falling behind competitors suddenly made the pain of changing bearable. The expectation of their clients have changed, so not adapting to technology was costing more. Joni Pirovich from Hall & Wilcox explained, “As technology trends are pervasive across all industries, it’s now incumbent upon law firms to ensure lawyers have a good starting language to interpret technology concepts and how they interact with legal principles.”
The increase in law firm technology did surprise some people. Forbes found out that there was a 713% jump in investments in technology for law firms in 2018—almost 1.63 billion USD—bolstered mostly by the arrival of eDiscovery, which is an electronic method for finding important information specific investigations or suits.
How Technology Affects Law Changes for Career Development
As improvements in legal technology change the legal landscape today, the profession has also changed. Automation of legal methods has forced legal secretaries, paralegals, lawyers, and other professionals in the industry to become skilled at an ever-developing range of legal search software, presentation, database, telecommunications, spreadsheets, and word processing. Technology for lawyers has influenced every factor in the legal area, from corporate practice and law firms to document administration and courtroom processes.
Here are some ways technology is affecting and will affect Law Changes for Career Development:
Various secretarial, billing and administrative procedures have already become automated to a degree, specifically in bigger firms that have invested in technology and changes and also in smaller firms or by individual legal professionals. They have all turned to controlled outsourced services operated by technology in order to save expenses.
Practicing law favorably includes a large amount of research into particular cases and the documents and details available and also into the broader environment of the legal model. In any case, technology presents new means for legal organizations that considerably facilitates the investigation and development stages of trailing a case to a triumphant finish.
Involving in heuristic analytics and case studies applying machine learning could further strip off as much as 70% of the cost correlated with trailing a case. Among the many ways, a platform for machine learning can achieve this is by browsing digitized copies of prevailing and preceding testimonies, legal reports, legal briefings, former cases, printed legal documents and so on—and then pull out the piece of relevant information that pertains to the case at hand.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Solutions of legal AI are basically sophisticated processes of teaching computers to carry out daily tasks and/or browse through massive volumes of data. Among the most important real-world AI application within law firm technology has been predictive coding. This is a kind of review assisted by technology that is used to evaluate the importance of massive quantities of documents for determinations of electronic disclosure. Succeeding Brown v BCA Trading and others, predictive coding has been made mandatory in specific cases and it applies a mixture of iterative computer training and keyword search to rate the importance of every specific document.
In this age of digitization, Big Data refers to both processes and large quantities of data sets used for obtaining, examining, and deriving value from these sets of data. Lex Machina is a great example of how Big Data can help technology for law firms. Lex Machina is a “legal analytics platform” that helps lawyers determine the best strategies for litigation by looking up trends in the results of earlier related cases. Several law firms have a treasure trove of their own Big Data in the form of user data from websites and client databases.
Although the traditional legal industry has been reluctant to adopt technology, it now permeates into every phase of law practice. We are expected to witness important developments across the subsequent years in Law Changes for Career Development. Although it’s challenging to forecast the future, firms that remain updated and informed will be the readiest to benefit from the latest innovations and developments in the industry.