The legal sector in our country has now reached a stage where we need to compute technology with its legal aspects. Legal technology, aka the branch of the legal sector that works with a combination of cutting- edge technology, has entirely transformed the way attorneys and law professional works. It has brought forward better opportunities to digitally transform the law and meet the expectations of technology targeted clients. The young law practitioners and researchers are unbolted to technology acquiring the sector. This new limb helps regulate the efficiency and working of the legal offices all along. Due to this, several legal tech companies are set-forth towards online products such as online creation of legal documents, artificial intelligence, patents and trademarks, E-filing of intelligent knowledge ETC.
Trends Ruling the Legal Tech Market
1. Client contract management systems: the law organizations focusing on collaborating with their targeted user base to ensure transparency in their system will resort to reform in the legal landscape. This would later aid in wider acceptance of secure and innovative tools for managing critical legal issues.
2. Predictive Legal Analysis: Switching from analytics to predictive analytics would result in developing innovative solutions that offer higher strategic planning and other data-driven information.
3. Growth with virtual Assistance: both, small firms and independents will look forward to introducing virtual assistance and automation of tools in order to manage multiple tasks efficiently and effortlessly.
4. Data-Driven Decision Making: many user-centric processes for a democratic experience focusing on lean and custom solutions and outcomes have thrived the market with the focal point being AI and blockchain in the legal field. This legal-techs helps in finding better opportunities, projecting new strategies and find effective ways to thrive the business in the client-driven market.
5. Breaking specialization from professionals: the legal-tech establishments will look forward to hiring employees to bring direct change in their business, hence even a non-lawyer who has expertise in sales, C-suit administration and process management as the lawyers will keep a focus on high-level, substantive tasks while the non-lawyers will participate in improving the environment and introducing new ways of increasing business efficiency.
Another advancement to be seen is with digital courtrooms and arbitrary into resolving disputes online. As government buildings throughout the world shut their doors to prevent the spread of Covid-19, many judges have moved operations online rather than put cases on hold altogether. The result is that custody hearings, bankruptcy proceedings, abuse charges and other cases are being heard by virtual courts. And thanks to the digital convenience of live-streaming, public hearings can now truly be heard by any member of the public.
6. E-Discovery: Electronic discovery is the electronic aspect of identifying, collecting and producing electronically stored information (ESI) in response to a request for production in a lawsuit or investigation. Unlike hardcopy evidence, electronic documents are more dynamic and often contain metadata such as time-date stamps, author and recipient information, and file properties. Preserving the original content and metadata for electronically stored information is required in order to eliminate claims of spoliation or tampering with evidence later in the litigation.
Emerging Legal Technology
Variety of legal technology has been introduced to the sector to make working more efficient, easy and safe. Some of these have been showing unexpected growth where some of them are under-developing. Here are certain types which have been covering most of the sector yet:
1. E- Filing
E-filing uses an electronic system to submit documents to the court. The clerks at the courthouse will generally approve the filing and then ensure that it gets to the right individuals at the courthouse, including the judge and any support staff. It also serves notice on all interested parties in the case as well. E-filing is used instead of mailing out notices to interested parties or physically running documents to the courthouse to be filed. The entire process is much more streamlined, allowing the legal profession to move at a much faster pace. Here are some advantages of E-filing:
a. COST SAVING- The court system has seen significant cost savings for those judicial systems that have switched to electronic filing. There is no need to retain physical copies of filed documents in many cases, either, which cuts down on costs related to document storage. Electronic filing has even permitted some law firms to go virtually paperless, which reduces overhead as well.
b. EASY TRACKING- Many courts that have switched to electronic filing also have an electronic docket system. This system allows users to browse through all of the filed documents quickly and efficiently. Managing files that used to take up rooms can now be done entirely electronically. Some dockets are even searchable.
c. FASTER FILING MEANS FAST RESOLUTION- When you can file documents quickly and receive a notice right away when others submit documents, you can react faster to new developments in a case. There is no need to wonder whether a judge has made a decision because you will get notified as soon as something is filed. Clients can then take action on judicial decisions and information faster, which often leads to better results for everyone involved.
2. Document Automation
Contract drafting takes away a lot of time in the legal sector. Introduction to automated machine drafting tools could assist a lawyer to work more efficiently and cut hours of working hours and help them be more productive. These platforms mostly contain a variety of different clauses for different uses and high-quality templates. Early adopters of document automation now have teams of specialists who turn a few hours of partner time into resources while also generating best-practice precedents that can persist across a global firm for years. It exchanges skills between offices, industries, and regional areas by automating key papers, and free-busy lawyers in the public sector to perform specific value-added activities.
OpenLaw provides templates for lawyers to generate legal documents. In the contracting arena, it is including a function that would allow parties to enter into a contract by marking up previous drafts. Once the contract is complete, it takes the signature of the signatories and stores in on the blockchain.
At its most basic level, blockchain is literally just a chain of blocks. we are talking about digital information (the “block”) stored in a public database (the “chain”). The primary use of blockchain in the legal sector is in identity and data security. It will be mainly used in transparent paperwork, smart contracts, the authenticity of chain custody, easy litigations and settlements, safeguard intellectual property rights et cetera.
Blocks on the blockchain are made up of digital pieces of information. Specifically, they have three parts:
a) Blocks store information about transactions like the date, time, and dollar amount of your most recent purchase from Amazon.
b) Blocks store information about who is participating in transactions. Instead of using your actual name, your purchase is recorded without any identifying information using a unique “digital signature,” sort of like a username.
c) Blocks store information that distinguishes them from other blocks. Much like you and I have names to distinguish us from one another, each block stores a unique code called a “hash” that allows us to tell it apart from every other block. Hashes are cryptographic codes created by special algorithms. Let’s say you made your splurge purchase on Amazon, but while it’s in transit, you decide you just can’t resist and need a second one. Even though the details of your new transaction would look nearly identical to your earlier purchase, we can still tell the blocks apart because of their unique codes.
Blockchains don’t need intermediaries, so they can enable disenfranchised people to exchange things of value without needing powerful arbiters — like lawyers. They also offer an unalterable digital record. Blockchain in the legal-tech also serves to record financial transactions and to maintain ownership records and own assets. It’s the capability to hold information is truly reliable and helps legal processes.
4. Predictive Analytics
Predictive analytics is the use of data, statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data. Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and predictive analytics are paving the way for intensive customer-centric data that can increase sales, generate leads, and enhance customer satisfaction. The goal is to go beyond knowing what has happened to provide the best assessment of what will happen in the future. Often the unknown event of interest is in the future, but predictive analytics can be applied to any type of unknown whether it be in the past, present or future.
In law, Predictive analytics can discover patterns, abnormalities and correlations in large amounts of data to help build a case, generate a legal strategy, understand opposing counsel strategies, assess suspects and predict case outcomes. Machine-learning tools can analyze data, while regression analytics can estimate impacts in relationships between variables, establishing causal relationships in different aspects of a case.
Data analytics empowers innovative legal insights through mining data sets built out of case opinions, legislation, docket data, and other areas. The insights promise to improve conclusions drawn by legal counsel, judges, and other stakeholders in the legal industry.
This is an exciting time for paralegals and legal assistants. Predictive analytics will empower them to be highly indispensable members of any legal team.
5. Intelligent Knowledge Management
It examines the relationships between technology and human value because they are vital instruments of the process. By considering that knowledge management is related to intelligent agents, information technology (IT), and strategic decision‐support systems (SDSS), it attempts to provide useful insights on its efficiency.
The model is divided into two areas: the area of technical tools for the specification of intelligent systems resources and the area of intelligent agents destined to focus their roles on organizations’ performance.
This plays a vital role in the law sector to conclude more productivity and proficiency. Efficiency in using existing knowledge rather than starting research from scratch is a major role in intelligent knowledge management tools play. Other than that, it can transfer delegation to lawyers who can easily find checklists and established documentation to free up partners to focus on higher-value work. The quality and consistency of work product delivered to clients, developing client loyalty can be a major advancement in the field. It provides lawyer knowledge as intelligent knowledge keeps the firm up to date with the most current information and managing also manages the risk allowing lawyers to refer to previous matters quickly and efficiently to identify potential risk for clients.
6. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. The term may also be applied to any machine that exhibits traits associated with a human mind such as learning and problem-solving. Law, as a disciple which needs thinking of a human brain is full of opportunities for the technology to improve the services we offer to the customer. The elements of AI has been in the legal sector for quite a long time but is at it’s extensive use now. AI devices are being used by a lot of legal practitioners and law firms. CAM is one Indian law firm that claims to implement AI in doing legal research, document review and summarization, due diligence etc. CAM do claim that the AI software is effective and have reduced junior level jobs in the firm. That’s a very interesting situation indeed.
7. Machine Learning
machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides systems with the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it to learn for themselves.
The process of learning begins with observations or data, such as examples, direct experience, or instruction, in order to look for patterns in data and make better decisions in the future based on the examples that we provide. The primary aim is to allow the computers to learn automatically without human intervention or assistance and adjust actions accordingly.
This kind of technology has increased efficiency in various sectors especially in the area of law because of its improving accuracy and reliability which can surpass human ability in the same domain within a few years.
8. Virtual Data Rooms
A virtual data room (VDR), also known as a deal room, is a secure online repository for document storage and distribution. It is typically utilized during the due diligence process preceding a merger or acquisition to review, share, and disclose company documentation. For reasons of cost, efficiency and security, virtual data rooms have widely replaced the more traditional physical data room. The virtual data room provides access to secure documents for authorized users through a dedicated web site, or through secure agent applications.
Virtual data rooms allow lawyers to file documents electronically, making them ultra-easy to find, as opposed to digging through dozens of files looking for specific documents. Lawyers and other business professionals can track transactions more easily using virtual data rooms.
There are indeed many other technology trends that are likely to impact the legal industry in various ways in the next 10 years.
Legal Technology and COVID-19
The pandemic and associated lock-down has had an impact on businesses across most industries. Law firms have not been immune, with clients reducing their business activity, several M&A transactions on hold and many courts closed. The restrictions on movement have also highlighted the importance of technology.
Most of the world, law firms have also had to make the transition to a work-from-home environment, relying more than ever on technology to connect employees and drive efficiency. For firms that invested in, particularly, cloud solutions and collaboration tools over the last few years, the transition to a remote workstation has been easier.
The legal sector and the legal practice, among various fields of occupation, is at an early stage of conversion. The impact of Covid-19 on legal practice will change this and it would be realized that any field, be it law or business, needs to be able to assess its legal procedures and exposures.
It will also help strategically align technology, systems, and processes to enable simple things like finding and analyzing legal contracts quickly and efficiently, rather than relying on the human capital of its internal or external lawyers.
It will help in the delivery of better legal services i.e. from how the teams are structured, how they operate, and the architecture of systems and tools that support the delivery of services.
These changes will be enabled by the availability, and broader use of, a range of different providers of those services like tech-enabled products and their services.
PROS AND CONS OF LEGAL-TECH
There are relationships between the law and everything. There are regulations, there are restrictions, there is the power of authority, there are rules, there are punishments, and there are judges, juries, and exceptions.
When it comes to the law, it’s always like you’re following a moving target. As society adapts to itself, the law changes as well. With something as prevalent and flexible as technology, this leads to a very distinct relationship.
So if you’re thinking about the pros and cons of the relationship between technology and the law, there are a number of different perspectives that you can follow. First, a big benefit to technology is that you can find a lawyer that exactly meets your needs. Digital searching is wonderful.
Next, you can use the law to decide if digital evidence gathering is worth it when it comes to a particular case where you are either a plaintiff or defendant. And finally, one of the issues with law and technology is that some new technologies don’t have legal precedent yet, so legislators don’t know what to do with certain situations.
Like everything, legal technology has its pros and cons. While it revolutionizes the legal profession and model, it can never fully replace humans. Law requires a human touch, and technology is best seen as a compliment that works alongside professionals in the field to provide high-quality outcomes. In this era of rapid advancement, the tech world changes every week and lawyers will need to stay up to date. This means that they may have to know more about technology in order to keep up.
One thing that’s important to note is that it takes a while for the legal system to catch up with society as a whole as there are so many new technologies that are being developed at the same time, this means the legal system is behind the time curve. Like everything, legal technology has its pros and cons. While it revolutionizes the legal profession and model, it can never fully replace humans. Law requires a human touch, and technology is best seen as a compliment that works alongside professionals in the field to provide high-quality outcomes. In this era of rapid advancement, the tech world changes every week and lawyers will need to stay up to date. This means that they may have to know more about technology in order to keep up.