Technology is transforming every industry and legal sector is no exception. With shifting market dynamics and rising competition, tech adoption has become a necessity rather than a choice. The legal industry is keeping pace with these changes and today, legal technology is transforming the way law firms operate. As a leading provider of legal transcription services, we keep track of these trends to serve our clients better.
Benefits of Legal Technology Adoption
As in all sectors, the COVID-19 pandemic sped up technology adoption in the legal sector. With lockdowns becoming the new normal, law firms had to go digital to work remotely and communicate with their team and their clients. Automating processes allows the legal sector to operate like the business sector.
- Improved efficiency with digitization of several manual tasks: Lawyers dread tedious and time-consuming tasks. Technology has automated basic administrative work that was formerly done manually in legal firms, such as contract drafting and signing, time and expense recording, billing, client accounting, due diligence, document review and management, analytics, compliance management, legal calendaring, and even jury screening. Digital solutions make it easier for lawyers to share documents with colleagues when necessary. The McKinsey Global Institute estimated that 23 percent of a lawyer’s job can be automated with current technology. With word processors and eDiscovery software, and approaches like machine learning, AI and predictive analytics, reports say that scope for automation in the legal sector is growing.
- Equips lawyers to focus on improving the client experience: Automation is helping lawyers better meet client expectations and improve their experience. With technology and artificial intelligence, law firms now offer a more client-centric approach using chatbots, legal process management, online intake forms and payment portals. Technology also allows them to partnering with other service providers such as digital transcription agencies to provide comprehensive solutions to their clients and win cases.
- Reduces risks of errors in documentation: Legal document automation reduces risk of errors. Creating documents manually increases the chances of omissions and mistakes. Document automation eliminates these issues and results in accurate and consistent document templates. Likewise, automation also reduces the risk of errors that occur due to misinterpretation of facts and figures which can have drastic impacts on the outcome of a case. With digitized documents, lawyers will have easy access to the details and can review the material thoroughly and more effectively using analytics.
- eDiscovery automation simplifies and streamlines workflow: The exchange of electronic information between parties during litigation and investigations or eDiscovery simplifies painful manual reviews. In the manual approach to discovery, attorneys would click through those documents individually, at a rate of about $250 an hour and a total cost of almost $200,000 (www.clio.com). With digital documents, lawyers no longer to spend many hours searching through large volumes of documents to find relevant evidence when preparing cases. Automating eDiscovery is crucial as evidence could come from email, mobile devices, database archives, or IoT devices. Using advanced analytics, eDiscovery automation software searches for keywords and phrases, eliminates irrelevant documents, and speeds up and streamlines the process.
- Improves communication capabilities: The best example of this is video conferencing. With secure technologies like Zoom or Teams, lawyers can communicate easily and at any time with their staff and clients when in-person meetings are no possible. This is allowing them to get work done faster, increase productivity and maximize value. Advanced software comes with innovative features to enhance communication and collaboration such as messaging, file sharing, screen sharing, unique meeting IDs for each meeting, and end-to-end encryption.
- Eases research: Electronic legal research has revolutionized legal research. Legal professionals can utilize a wide range of legal databases to perform research, verify the law, and track the recent developments and amendments. Today, AI and analytics are on the rise and can transform legal research. For example, Thomson Reuters Westlaw, a leader in the legal research software industry, offers and intuitive and fast AI solution that delivers real value for lawyers and legal teams by providing access to current, best-in-class data.
- Increases competitive advantage and revenue: Law firms that fully harnessed technology emerged as the most resilient through the pandemic notes a www.lawyaw.com article. Technology leaders could support their clients more effectively from any location, and earned higher profits than those who did not implement technology. According to the report, “47% more technology-leading law firms saw profitability increases, while tech-transitioning firms (28% of which saw an increase profitability) and tech-trailing firms (13%) struggled”. This shows why law firms should invest in technology.
- Enhances transparency and flexibility: Tech adoption is allowing law firms to meet evolving client requirements and demands. With technology, clients can get concise information on lawyer fees as well as the day-to-day progress on their case. Legal practice management tech solutions allow clients to research and evaluate providers, engage in chat with different attorneys, and learn about basic law processes and requirement. By improving transparency, legal technology solutions allow clients to approach trusted professionals.
Need to Overcome Barriers to Tech Adoption
Legal transcription services help lawyers keep accurate reports of court sessions and other legal proceedings. Likewise, digital tools make lawyers’ jobs easier and improves legal service accessibility and quality while reducing costs. However, reports say that many lawyers don’t use AI tools and lack even basic knowledge about AI. Concerns about data security and privacy concerns and insecurities around the use of AI are the main barriers when it comes to legal technology adoption. As technology can no longer be ignored by law firms, they should reach out to experts to digitize their legal services and support their technology initiatives.