There is no getting around it, technology is changing every aspect of how you work, live, and play. From researching and booking a vacation completely online to buying your groceries online to working remotely – technology is having a profound impact on your life.
When it comes to the legal profession, no domain is immune to the pros and cons of technology. From legal transcription services companies who now take advantage of cloud storage and remote employees to legal researchers who finally have the ability to really manage data to lawyers who can easily build a truly international footprint without ever leaving their home office – technology is forcing change in how you work.
In this article we look at some of the ways that technology is having an impact on the law. We look at what is happening right now and leave the door open for questions about what could happen next. We’re curious to hear from you and your thoughts on technology and the future of law, so let us know in the comments about your thoughts on this very popular topic.
Managing the Immense Volume of Data
In all types of legal professions, data is everywhere. From the volumes of legal research, contracts, case review, court filings, legal transcripts, discovery documents, to the emails and other digital only documents – data rules the life of everyone working with the law.
A lot of time and energy is spent trying to dissect relevant data, combing through legal research, reviewing legal briefs, and getting the work done to build a successful outcome. But who has the time to spend doing this tedious research? Not many legal firms can afford to devote the personnel to this labor-intensive yet critical aspect of legal work.
However, now with the power of online legal database, digital law libraries, and the strength of data analytics, the time and effort spent reviewing and parsing large volumes of legal data has become much easier. There is not a law firm today that is not using some type of legal database of case history such as the Caselaw Access Project or a data analytics tool such as Lex Machina.
Technology and our use of it has become so common place that it has given rise to an entirely new career and domain within the law: e-discovery. Today, e-discovery professionals are experts in the discovery and management of electronic data.
E-discovery professionals have a deep understanding of information technology and the law, creating the ideal skillset needed to support modern law firms. Forward-thinking law firms are using e-discovery experts to research, store, analyze, collate, and manage the volumes of electronic data created on a daily basis. Think of emails, text messages, social media content, voicemails, graphics, digital contracts, and any other piece of digital data that can be vital to the litigation.
Work Where You Want When You Want
Today, thanks to the power of the Internet, your office can be wherever you want it to be. And as an extra bonus, your work hours can finally fit with your lifestyle, rather than trying to fit your life around the traditional 9 – 5 (or longer) day.
We’re seeing a rise in flexible and remote working in every domain of the legal profession. Remote-only law firms that have a team of lawyers, legal researchers, and legal transcriptionists who meet daily in online forums such as Slack and who may meet once or twice or year for face-to-face meetings.
Today’s law firms are also no longer bound by local access to experts and professionals. Thanks to the power of digital, anyone can be an expert witness or provide much needed legal transcription services. The ability to send and receive data in an instant, to connect with people over real-time videoconferencing, and to share and work on files securely within the cloud – makes it much easier for anyone to thrive and succeed within the law.
We’re even seeing advances in support functions for legal professionals, consider the impacts of speech recognition technology on legal transcription to the ideas of the rise of robolawyers to how artificial intelligence will truly make a deep difference in the legal profession.
Lots of questions remain about how and where technology will ultimately impact the future of law. We leave you with this review of a book written in 1995 titled Law In A Digital World, which makes some interesting predictions on the impacts of technology on the law.