Over the past few decades, tech advances and innovations have impacted and transformed nearly every aspect of our lives. From communication to transport or manufacturing, no sector has remained untouched by the power of technology. The digital revolution has completely changed the rules of the game and continues to do so, but despite the relentless race towards digitalisation, certain areas of activity were extremely resistant to innovation and refused to adapt to the new normal. That’s the case with the legal field, a sector that’s always been known for its conservatism and the tendency to remain stuck in the old ways.
The battle between tradition and innovation in the practice of law has been going on for years, going back and forth between the advantages of keeping things as they once were and the benefits of modernising and embracing digital solutions. It’s pretty obvious which one won the fight in the end – the legal field ultimately had to accept that digitalisation is the way of the future and eventually fell in line with the rest of the world.
Since the moment tech innovations entered the legal sphere, there was no going back. One transformation after another has led to the legal field looking nothing like it used to. So, it’s important for both legal professionals as well as for those in need of legal services to understand how things have changed and what these changes imply.
In This Article
Access to information
Knowledge is power, and nowhere is this saying more true than in the practice of law. Whether we’re talking about law firms, lawyers, or clients, access to information is vital to build up a case and navigate the complexities of the legal field with greater ease. From a legal professional’s perspective, the emergence of the internet and the prevalence of digital solutions offer the possibility to go through a massive amount of data and extract the information they require without having to spend ages researching physical files as they did back in the day.
From a client’s perspective, digital solutions have facilitated access to legal information and services. Anyone who owns a smart device and has an internet connection can research any legal topic they might be interested in and explore their legal options with just a few clicks. That’s a far cry from the process one had to go through just a couple of decades ago when the only way to access such information and services was to make appointments and talk to legal professionals face-to-face.
Streamlined legal process
Legal procedures and processes are known to be quite cumbersome and time-consuming, but with the adoption of tech solutions, things have been moving faster than ever before in the legal sphere. Quickness and efficiency are two of the main benefits that digitalisation has brought to the practice of law, and we have several examples in this respect.
For instance, lawyers and other legal professionals have a wide range of digital tools at their disposal that facilitates communication and collaboration. They can exchange information in real-time, draft contracts and settlements, or study a specific topic without even leaving their office. Courtroom technology represents another example of how digitalisation can move things forward in the legal sphere. Apart from the increasing availability of information, with court records becoming more accurate, accessible, and safer, it also makes presenting evidence easier.
Online legal services
Services that were exclusive to brick-and-mortar establishments have moved to the online realm, and that also stands true for the practice of law. Today, online legal services such as No Win No Fee Solicitors Co. provide a great alternative to traditional law firms that are sometimes stuck in the past and extremely expensive. So, for those who are looking for legal guidance but are on a tight budget, online legal services represent the perfect solution, charging reasonable fees (often on a no won no fee basis) or offering completely free legal advice.
Another interesting phenomenon emerging from the digital transformation that the legal sector has been undergoing in the past few years is the birth of entirely digital law firms. While digital-native law firms are quite rare, as it implies exploring uncharted territory and coming up with viable solutions for a multitude of challenges, there are high chances that people will eventually start embracing these types of companies and even prefer them over traditional law firms.
If there’s one thing that the covid pandemic has taught us is that many of the activities that were performed in person can actually be accomplished via virtual means, without cutting any corners on quality, accuracy, efficiency, or productivity. In the legal sector, that translated into making the switch from in-person hearings to virtual hearings.
The use of online platforms has helped many courts manage the cases they had waiting in line and continue their activity largely unbothered by the health crisis. While this was not the ideal scenario, as legal professionals and the court staff had to figure out the ins and outs of the tech tools they needed to use, it did prove that virtual proceedings can be just as effective in helping the jury come to an unbiased decision.
Artificial Intelligence and legal research
AI is not something you’d usually associate with the practice of law, and yet here we are. It’s 2022 and AI technology is now being used to automate a large amount of the work that was once performed by lawyers.
AI has already been proven to deliver great value for lawyers and legal teams in a variety of settings and circumstances. AI platforms collect, analyse, and organise massive amounts of legal data, taking the legal research process to a whole new level of efficiency.
The adoption of digital solutions may have started slowly for the legal industry, but these changes were inevitable. As lawyers and legal teams continue to adjust to the new normal and integrate tech tools in their daily operations, we’re likely going to witness further transformations of the legal field on an even larger scale.