Since the advent of modern and digital technology, the entire world has continued to transform at a geometric rate. Professionally, the extent of improvement brought to different industries has been unprecedented. From increased individual productivity to the almost unimaginable level of collaboration ushered in by technology, its impact over the decades has simply been immeasurable.
Just like other professions, law has been ingratiated with its fair share of technological advancements, ranging from the AI contract review software used for day to day legal activities to the online repositories containing legal materials to the emerging areas of digital technology that continue to require legal regulation.
Just like other professions, law has been ingratiated with its fair share of technological advancements, ranging from the software used for day-to-day legal activities to the online repositories containing legal materials (e.g., US code annotated) to the emerging areas of digital technology that continue to require legal regulation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to push the world to adopt and innovate new trends, most of which are technological and serve to bring people together.
Legal Tech Trends in 2021 and Beyond
The legal sector had to catch up with technological changes. Amid this backdrop, below are the top legal tech trends in 2021 and beyond.
Digital Court Sessions and Similar Proceedings
Most of what the world has adjusted to in the past 12 months relates to bridging the gap created by physical restrictions. Thus, the use of web applications like Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Cisco, and other similar platforms increased. We’ve already seen these platforms used for minor court proceedings and hearings. However, realizing their effectiveness will definitely give rise to their use in more advanced, lengthy court settings and not just those that require expediency.
Intentional and Calculated Approach to Remote Work
Collaboration is one of the most noticeable aspects of legal practice. In both dispute resolution and corporate practice, the importance of teamwork for the process and the results of legal tasks cannot be overemphasized. For this reason, incorporating digital platforms into collaborating and working as teams will exist more among lawyers and legal establishments in 2021 and beyond. In fact, many law offices and teams have begun to adopt this method of working, regardless of existing physical restrictions in their jurisdictions.
The advantages are highly beneficial to lawyers both professionally and personally. Legal tech use is, therefore, continuing to rise among lawyers who want to work more efficiently with one another and their clients. Platforms that support collaboration, including Microsoft Teams, Office 365, Trello, and Google Drive, have gained popularity. Team meetings are also being held remotely, which again emphasizes the use of live video platforms like Zoom and Cisco.
Automated Administrative Processes
In the past, many lawyers often had to finish one case before moving on to another. That had to do most with the fact that they had to take care of administrative tasks manually while taking care of clients’ needs. Automating these time-consuming processes can give them more time to focus on cases, and maybe take on more than one client at a time.
Using Data to Track Performance and Profitability
Many of the most profitable companies rely on data to track employee and market performance. Departments like marketing, advertising, sales, and human resources, even executives ask for reports to know what and how much work was done, by whom, how efficiently, and which cases proved profitable. Like administrative processes, data gathering and analysis can be automated for quicker planning and even decision-making.
Taking Cybersecurity More Seriously
Lawyers can lose a case easily when their research or notes get stolen. And most of these are usually stored in digital devices that are usually Internet-connected and so can get hacked. Just like any other organization can suffer from a data breach, so can law firms. That said, lawyers have to take cybersecurity more seriously, taking greater care of their digital files and clients’ personal information.
Integrating Technology with Client Experience
While the fact that human experiences are better when felt in person remains, the reality that has consumed the entire world in the past year cannot be ignored. This situation pushed lawyers to devise new ways to keep in touch with clients, ensuring that the differences felt in relationships are not as obvious as they originally should be.
Better client experience can be achieved in different ways, including periodic checking in with former and current clients through automated means. Also, creating user interface (UI) content for clients for recreational purposes as a way to strengthen attorney-client relationships will be a rising tech trend in 2021 and beyond. On this issue, John Strohmeyer, proprietor of Strohmeyer Law PLLC, stated:
“There’s no doubt that technology will grow in importance, but technology alone won’t save the practice of law. The biggest gains will be made by lawyers who integrate technology with human service to deliver the easiest experience for their clients.”John Strohmeyer, Strohmeyer Law PLLC
We can’t name all the legal tech trends that will see growth in 2021 and beyond. Lawyers will continue to become more innovative as they continue to adjust to the new realities and see how technology fits into these.
In the future, many countries will pioneer even more activities that ultimately make law practices better. We may soon begin to see soft copy court filing, digital court document endorsement, real-time witness examination via videoconferencing platforms, and so on. The technology already exists. How innovative the legal profession gets is what 2021 will continue to unravel.