How Technology Has Impacted The Legal Landscape And Industry

How Technology Has Impacted The Legal Landscape And Industry

The Estateably Team
October 12, 2023

The legal tech revolution is here, and it’s coming for your law practice. While new legal technologies were bubbling up well before 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic transformed the industry’s ways of working.

Today, tools such as cloud storage and artificial intelligence (AI) are essential if you want to deliver the service that clients expect and stay competitive in the marketplace.

Below, we’ll map out the new legal landscape, explore the benefits of technology, and address some of the challenges to consider before you dive into this brave new world.

What is driving the tech revolution?

To a large extent, the legal profession is changing simply because software makes it possible. For example, document automation software makes it easy to generate standard legal contracts at the click of a button instead of having to draft a new document from scratch every time.

Then there’s the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to worldwide lockdowns at the beginning of 2020. This changed working patterns globally pretty much overnight, with office-based workers abandoning the commute and dialing in from home instead. Post-pandemic, these employees show no sign of returning to how things used to be: Gartner recently forecasted that remote and hybrid knowledge workers will total 71 percent of the US workforce by the end of 2023.

We should also consider client expectations. Technology has upended how many of us access day-to-day services, from booking doctors’ appointments through an app to banking online. If you can schedule a medical consultation by tapping on a screen, why not a meeting with your attorney?

How has technology changed the way professionals work in the legal industry?

What does the new legal world look like in real life? Here are a few of the technologies bringing the changes in law firms across Canada and the US:

1. Cloud Storage

Since many professionals have turned to remote or hybrid working, cloud storage has become increasingly important in modern law firms. Instead of keeping paper documents in a physical filing cabinet or holding digital files in an on-premise server that ties you to your office, a cloud-based system stores all your files in an off-site server managed by a third party. This means you can access all the information you need at any time, on any device, from any location. With cloud storage, all you need is a secure internet connection.

2. AI

AI is making waves in several professions, with knowledge workers of all stripes grappling with the implications of systems such as ChatGPT. However, AI is proving to be a very useful tool for lawyers. AI systems can save significant time on repetitive tasks such as checking for potential conflicts of interest when taking on new clients or flagging data entry errors.

3. Digital Courtrooms

When the Covid-19 pandemic forced in-person courtrooms to close, digital environments filled the gap, with even the Supreme Court of Canada holding virtual hearings on Zoom. Digital courts are now firmly embedded in the legal system, with Utah among the US states continuing with remote court hearings. The pandemic and advances in technology have ushered in reforms to estate administration too. For example, when the executor of an estate has prepared probate documents, these have to be signed in the presence of a commissioner. In 2020, the Law Society of Ontario permitted this to be done via video conference. As to the future, a Colombian court recently proposed a way forward when it held its first legal trial in the metaverse.

How can technology benefit those in the legal industry?

The legal profession is changing at a fast pace, and with these new norms come many benefits for lawyers and clients alike:

1. Efficiency

One of the main benefits of legal technology—and one of the reasons why it’s increasingly essential for law firms who want to stay competitive—is that it streamlines operations. Cloud-based technology has made collaborating with colleagues and clients easier, improving communication and efficiency. And with software picking up repetitive, manual tasks such as entering data, sending client notifications, or generating standard documents, you can work more efficiently and maximize your billable hours.

2. Accessibility

Legal practice management technology has been a game changer for small law firms and sole practitioners, who can now take care of the business side of running a law practice without needing an expensive back office. Dedicated software for specific fields of law, such as trust and estates, can also open up new business areas without hiring specialist lawyers.

Technology also helps make justice more accessible in general. Remote courts, for example, allow low-income litigants to attend a trial without taking as much time off work or paying travel costs.

3. Affordability

Technology offers significant cost savings. Cloud storage is scalable, allowing you to add more space as needed instead of committing to a complex in-house system upfront. It also saves investing in expensive physical storage space, on-premise servers, and IT infrastructure. Virtual meetings, meanwhile, save you and your clients time and money by cutting out the need for travel.

4. Better client experience

Above all, legal technology helps you serve your clients better. By automating many administrative tasks and facilitating communication and collaboration, software frees up your time to concentrate on listening to your clients and providing them with higher value-added solutions.

Overcoming New Industry Challenges

While changes in the legal industry have brought significant benefits, a balance must be struck between innovation and privacy concerns. When you adopt new software or switch to a cloud-based system, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re complying with privacy laws and regulations. This might include obtaining consent from clients before collecting and using their data.

It’s also important to think about data security. Cloud storage has many advantages regarding security, such as hosting data on multiple servers for quick disaster recovery. However, it’s still essential to have robust security measures in place. These include using encrypted storage and communication platforms, limiting user access to sensitive information, and providing employee training on data security best practices.

Embrace the Tech Revolution with Estateably

Are you ready to step into the brave new world of legal technology? At Estateably, we’re here to help you navigate the new legal landscape with modern trust and estate administration software.

Estateably’s easy-to-use, cloud-based platform makes light work of administration tasks such as document management, accounting, reporting, and form filling. As a result, you’ll be able to streamline your workflows, enable better collaboration, and spend more time focusing on high-value legal work.

Book a demo or contact our team today to explore how our software can help you transform your practice.

           

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