Technology In Courts
E-filing - filing documents electronically with the court - has become commonplace and Federal and state courts are posting court filings on web-based databases, allowing counsel to access court documents remotely. A growing number of courtrooms are now equipped with all the bells and whistles of an electronic age. Built-in monitors and equipment facilitate the use of trial presentation software and other technology in the courtroom.
Law and Technology
Lawyers, paralegals and other legal professionals are using technology more than ever before, operating database applications specific to their practice area and using video conference tools and other electronic devices to complete daily tasks.
While law libraries are not extinct, electronic legal research prevails as the most common method of legal research. Legal professionals use a wide range of legal databases to perform research, verify case law and track data. Westlaw and Lexis/Nexis continue to be among the most widely used legal research databases although new software products are constantly entering the market.
Impact Of Technology On Legal Profession In India
Laws grind the poor and rich men rule the law, writer Oliver Goldsmith had once said. A bunch of young men and women in India who have launched online legal services aim to stop just that. The country is now suddenly seeing a spurt in websites that help clients find the right lawyer for themselves, making sure they do not get fleeced.
In 2011, there were 3 crore searches for legal issues online. There was a demand for it, but no supply. The law sector in India is challenging, but precedence has shown that not everyone believes in it for various reasons. The problem in India is not a lack of lawyers or even good lawyers. The problem is the lack of a platform to unite clients with reliable experts, online.
Legal technology is booming, with companies attempting to disrupt the legal space at every level and from every angle. And with good reason. While legal still hasn’t caught up with other industries- either in terms of funding or widespread adoption, the future is bright and coming at us fast. Legal has been a tough nut to crack because there is significant non-uniform regulation and risk-averse, disaggregated stakeholders. These factors have slowed disruption. But change is high: consumers are demanding more efficient, transparent and affordable legal services, and lawyers are looking for cutting-edge ways to compete in an oversaturated market.
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Here are the trends to watch
DIY Legal Will Hit Its Stride
With an increasing number of thinkers and more prevalent mobile technology in the DIY space, we can expect to see a clearer division between transactions appropriate for DIY and others that likely require the services of a lawyer. Also, DIY will be applied to “microtransactions” that previously were behind the reach of legal, thus creating a whole new market for pseudo-legal services. DIY will never displace lawyers, but when executed thoughtfully are essential to addressing an important and substantial part of the market.
For DIY, mobile technology is a game changer because it creates legal relationships and structures in interactions where previously there was a mere handshake (i.e. a quick loan between friends at a bar, a friend of a friend fixing your roof or your cousin’s 19-year-old babysitting for the night). When these contracts are drafted in a smart way, they provide a clear value where it otherwise would never have been worth it to hire a lawyer.
The Rise (and Coming Dominance) of the Legal Marketplace
Like the other vertical marketplaces that are gaining traction across industries as a result of consumer demand, legal marketplaces will experience rapid growth and become the go-to way we find lawyers (like home help, doctors and dates before). Fast forward and the law firm of the future is a marketplace: thousands of lawyers connected through lean backend infrastructure that handles administrative functions, driving pricing down and productivity up.
Now, consumer demand is driving big changes in the way we find lawyers. In the past, businesses and individuals found lawyers through personal connections (with the occasional billboard or search through the Yellow Pages). Personal referrals can be as inefficient in law as in any other industry — your network might not know the right type of lawyer for you, your proof of quality is limited to one point of reference and there is little transparency about price and value.
Legal research, billing, document review, document assembly and project management had not evolved from much older methods until the past couple of years. All of these tasks take lawyers time, and since lawyers are still (mostly) using hourly billing, that time costs clients’ money. Recently, we have seen a veritable explosion of tools enhancing the way lawyers run their practices. In legal research (which, until recently, was particularly antiquated and inefficient), CaseText, Judicata and RavelLaw are making waves by democratizing and streamlining processes.
Document review (also antiquated and inefficient, but most notably, until very recently conducted largely by extremely costly human labour) is being disrupted by machine learning tools. Ample opportunity for AI tools will be there to enable lawyers to run their practices more efficiently and pass those cost-savings onto clients.
A number of startups have come on the scene focused on streamlining interactions between lawyers and their clients, and this is great news because it will drive legal costs down. In an industry where time is often, quite literally, money, we will see more innovation that minimizes friction in lawyer-client interactions.
Legal technology is finally having its moment in the spotlight, and we are only at the beginning of the boom. Every single one of the three areas as mentioned will evolve dramatically in the next year and almost unrecognizable in the next five. DIY, marketplace economies and process-based tools will all make lawyers more accessible and affordable.
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