Technology is constantly evolving, and it seems like every day we hear about a new invention or device being created. One thing that is becoming more and more popular is the use of technology in the law profession. Lawyers are using innovative legal technology to make their jobs easier, faster, and more efficient. This article will discuss how the impact of technology is changing how lawyers work, and what this means for the legal profession and your law firm.
Accessible lawyer/client communication and file sharing
It used to be that in order to communicate with your lawyer you had to call their office, talk to a receptionist or their legal assistant, and then wait for them to call you back. These days lawyers can now communicate with clients via email, text messaging, video conferencing, instant messenger programs, and other forms of electronic communications. It is far easier for the client to get in touch or schedule a meeting with their lawyer at their convenience, rather than being restricted by office hours and gatekeepers. It represents a significant shift in the law profession, giving clients more agency with which to get their legal needs met.
For lawyers, this does mean they have to work hard to set boundaries and ensure that they have a healthy separation of work life and home life. But the advantages of these new options for communication can improve client satisfaction because the clients feel more agency to initiate communication and can do so through whatever communication medium works best for them. These options can be vital, especially for clients who are seeking a lawyer’s help to escape an abusive situation.
Virtual communication also includes conference calls and video calls, which have been essential in ensuring that legal processes can continue to move forward even during the pandemic. Hearings can take place virtually, with no one having to leave the safety of their home or office. This has also made it easier for lawyers that need to conduct business while traveling. We are seeing a greater acceptance of using virtual conferencing that will likely continue long after the pandemic ends.
Many of these communication tools work with or have built-in file sharing. The ability to send documents electronically has made it much easier for attorneys to share information quickly and efficiently. In addition, many firms offer free document storage services so they do not need to store paper files on site anymore. These technological advancements allow lawyers to spend less time searching for relevant evidence and more time working on client matters.
The rise of cloud computing allows lawyers to access data from anywhere at any time, which is again essential with lawyers working from home or with limited hours in the office, but who still desire to provide timely results for their clients.
Automated e-discovery and analytics
Legal services have always had a reputation for being slow and expensive. Many people believe that traditional methods of providing legal services were inefficient and ineffective. However, the advent of modern technologies has led to significant improvements in how law practices operate. Automation has allowed lawyers to become more productive by making research and other business processes go more smoothly, and saving both money and resources. For example, there are companies that provide software solutions for managing litigation cases. They automate all aspects of discovery including scanning, indexing, reviewing, analyzing, summarizing, and reporting, saving thousands of dollars per year. Legal firms are businesses and they have to keep an eye on the bottom line. Automating solutions are an easy way to increase their profit margin.
Another significant benefit of automation is its speed. With some systems, such as those mentioned above, the entire process takes only minutes instead of weeks. Rather than manually reviewing all relevant materials, some firms choose instead to run their own searches using sophisticated software tools. By doing so, a lawyer can avoid having to spend countless hours searching through paper documents. Private companies like LexisNexis and Westlaw now use machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to find new sources of information. These programs scan millions of pages every day and then compare results against other databases to determine whether an article may be useful.
These innovations have changed the way the legal profession works, reducing hours that each lawyer spends on vital but time-consuming work and allowing them more time to focus on clients and preparing strategies for each case. Now they can rely on computer programs to analyze large amounts of text and produce reports based on keywords found within the material. Such programs can identify key points and trends within a given piece of writing.
Advanced technology allows lawyers to save money while still ensuring that important evidence remains available during trial. When used properly, such systems can dramatically reduce the workload associated with document reviews and improve the legal services for each client.
Remote work and cybersecurity benefits
Due to restrictions caused by the pandemic, more and more businesses have begun offering remote working options to employees. The rise of remote work has been made possible largely due to technological advancements such as cloud computing and mobile devices. According to a 2016 report published by Gallup, approximately 43 percent of U.S. adults currently work outside of their homes.
While remote working may seem appealing to some, others worry that it could lead to lower productivity levels among team members. However, studies suggest otherwise. A recent survey conducted by FlexJobs found that almost half of respondents said they were able to get more done each day due to being able to work remotely during Covid-19. The improved efficiency attributed to working from home can often mean better results for legal clients.
In addition to improving efficiency, online and virtual services also improve security. Since most interactions occur over the internet rather than face-to-face, there is lowered risk of sensitive client information being leaked. Client privacy is of utmost importance in the legal world, so adoption of the cloud, private networks, and other tools has the benefit of increased privacy and security for legal clients.
Advances in technology continue to change how we live our lives today. Many industries – the legal profession included – are embracing these wholeheartedly and reaping the benefits of efficient solutions and satisfied clients.
TechMasters is a leader in providing cybersecurity services and other technological solutions for the legal industry. Contact us today for a free IT assessment that includes the best value recommendations for your firm.
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