Legal tech refers to any application of technology that helps lawyers and law firms digitize processes involved in providing legal services. It is a broad term that includes a wide variety of technologies, from applications that enable lawyers to find clients to artificial intelligence (AI)-based platforms that aid legal research.
Read More about “Legal Tech”
If you have ever read (or watched the movie version of) John Grisham’s The Firm and other legal thriller books, you would know how lawyers and their teams spend hours building a single case. Fast forward to more than two decades later, and the TV series “Suits” became popular.
If you observe closely, you will notice a similarity: Both stories depict how lawyers do much research at their office or in the library, going through piles of papers and books. With legal tech, such scenes may no longer be necessary.
What Technologies Do Law Firms Use?
These days, lawyers conduct research by accessing databases to look for cases. They use software to edit and send documents and can even file court papers electronically. While there are so many types of technologies that lawyers and law firms use, here are some of the most basic ones:
- Word processors
- Presentation applications
- Electronic filers
- Cloud technology
Examples of Legal Tech That Are Disrupting the Legal Sector
AI and machine learning (ML) have brought about developments in legal tech that have changed the way lawyers do their jobs. Some of these technologies have been welcomed with open arms, while others are causing lawyers to raise their brows.
Legal Research Software
Lawyers and their staff don’t need to do manual research when building cases. They can now search for case laws, statutes, court judgements, and other sources in a fraction of the time they spent before with the aid of legal research software.
These products include simple search engine tools that allow lawyers to look up certain laws and regulations, much like Google but specialized for the legal sector. An example of such a product is shown by the video below.
Some legal research software are AI-enabled, which means they provide lawyers with brief analysis tools and answer specific questions.
Client Relationship Management (CRM) Software
Like other enterprises, lawyers and law firms use customer or client relationship management (CRM) solutions to manage their contacts and calendars. These software help lawyers track leads, prospects, and clients efficiently and in much less time.
Law Practice Management Solutions
About 51% of lawyers say their firms use law practice management software. This technology is used to consolidate back- and front-office processes, such as billing, scheduling, case management, and messaging.
Some solutions also allow lawyers to create documents and templates within the platform. The video below shows how they can use the document automation feature of law practice management software.
Lawyers can manage most of their activities on one platform. The right law practice management software can help them save an average of eight hours a week.
Law Firm without Lawyers
This AI application is perhaps among the most controversial in the legal tech industry, as it insinuates that AI can replace lawyers. Some law firms have opened offices, but instead of hiring lawyers, they use AI assistants to help clients.
These AI assistants can provide legal advice such as identifying documents suitable for a certain case. They can also evaluate if a case is complex and needs to be referred to a lawyer.
Cartland Law opened the first Law Firm without Lawyers in Darwin, Australia, and claimed that their legal AI assistant could help clients with legal matters at 25% less than normal legal fees and within 15–20 minutes.
Legal tech has helped the legal industry streamline back- and front-office operations. It has helped lawyers save time, and its adoption continues to grow. In fact, the legal tech market revenue is predicted to reach US$25.17 billion by 2025.