Legal tech is the next big innovative trend revolutionizing how we work in the legal sphere. This shift in operations and, more importantly, mindset is unprecedented and historic. In a rapidly digitizing world, the induction of technology in the legal sphere was bound to happen sooner or later – and the COVID-19 pandemic was the perfect catalyst. With the pandemic making in-person meetings a health risk, the legal sphere had to shift online – and this shift did not stop after the easing of restrictions. Instead, the legal sector keeps digitizing itself because of the significant benefits of digitization.
Why should the legal sector digitize itself?
We present some reasons.
- Meeting client expectations is more manageable with technology.
The pandemic has forever changed the way we operate. Remote options for consultants are gaining more popularity, and clients’ expectations have changed accordingly. For example, some legal trends reports in 2018 found that only 23% of the clients were open to working with a lawyer remotely. Fast forward to 2022, well into the pandemic, and that number has dramatically risen to 71%. This shows how rapidly client expectations are changing in the legal market.
A law firm must have remote options to cater to clients who want remote consultations. This requires the acquisition of good legal tech. Furthermore, legal tech could improve the customer experience for all clients – not just those who wish for online consultations. Using automated procedures, a firm can save not only the time and labor of its lawyers but also the clients. One example of this improved customer experience is the requirement for signatures, which often became very inconvenient for the clients. Legal tech removes such barriers.
- With more time on the lawyers’ hands, they could engage in more productive work.
If the lawyers are meeting with their clients remotely or using legal tech to automate the manual, laborious work for them, they can free up a lot of time.
This could lead to better utilization of time by the lawyers. Using their free time, they could refine their existing cases, providing better consultations and legal assistance to their current clients. They could also increase the number of cases they can work on simultaneously by utilizing the time freed by taking up more possibilities. This makes lawyers more productive and improves access to justice by reducing the stress on the market. They could also take up pro-bono cases, improving access to justice for the less privileged. If not anything else, the induction of legal tech in the legal sphere could enhance lawyers’ work-life balance.
- Technology can help optimize the utilization of the firm’s resources, human or otherwise.
A successful business has to prioritize its operations. That is easier said than done, but legal tech could help firms analyze what business activity is more beneficial for them and should be prioritized.
Legal tech programs help law firms analyze their productivity so they can make appropriate decisions for their business. This is important for optimized resource allocation. Furthermore, the productivity of human resources could be gauged well by legal tech software. Through legal tech, the firm’s productivity could be gauged, allowing it to take important decisions regarding its resource management.
- Access to justice is improved by technology.
Legal tech helps increase access to justice, as we discussed above. In addition, when the lawyers have free time, they are likely to take more cases, including cases on pro-bono bases, significantly improving access to justice.
Legal tech directly improves access to justice as well. For example, through video-conferencing, individuals who cannot travel all the way to meet their lawyer could get access to judges too. These people may be ones with physical disabilities, they may be residents of a remote area, or they may not afford to travel to meet their lawyer very often. Either way, legal tech caters to a diverse section of society that may not have access to justice without the innovations brought by legal tech.
- Legal tech makes confidential data more cyber secure
Privacy and security are always important – but perhaps only a lawyer could describe how this importance is ten-fold in the legal sector. Law firms are dealing with confidential data of their clients, and a data breach damages not only the firm but also the clients. An unsecured law firm that is vulnerable to hackers would quickly erode the confidence of its clients.
The legal tech that is cyber secure could help with protecting a firm’s data. Cloud-based systems that legal tech offers are far more secure than paper-based systems, which are vulnerable to destruction from vandalism and natural disasters. Of course, there is concern about legal tech being not cybersecure enough and susceptible to attacks from hackers – but many secure legal tech platforms are available in the market.
Legal tech is changing the status quo in law firms. There is a tech revolution in law, and it is remarkable. Legal tech could cater to lawyers, law firms, and clients by eliminating monotonous labor. It could increase data protection and security, free up lawyers’ time, allow a better experience for clients, allow firms to gauge their productivity better, and improve access to justice. No wonder it is getting a lot of success.