There is a convergence of law and technology in contemporary society. Search engines and algorithms are facilitating legal research, e-discovery tools are sifting through millions of pages to identify relevant documents and software is aiding document comparisons. Lawyers are shifting their focus from mere paper pushing to meaningful practice of law and undertaking work that is truly valued by the clients. Examples of law-technology convergence are the following:
Research has traditionally been a tedious task for lawyers and searching through tomes of client history, reports and testimony records was akin to hunting for a needle in a haystack. Machine learning, which makes use of algorithms to analyze data and detect patterns, is enabling lawyers to find information quickly, thus saving hours of time and freeing them for higher-level tasks.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are transforming the practice of law. Thanks to the 3-D simulated environment created by VR, judges, attorneys and jurors can participate in a trial from afar and listen to the witnesses as if they were physically present in the courtroom. The legal industry is also making use of VR technology to re-create accident and crime scenes.
Many legal professionals, such as car accident lawyers, are making their presence felt on the wider social media, beyond the ambit of conventional professional networking platforms such as LinkedIn. A new wave of legal podcasts is popping up as lawyers are utilizing the time saved by automation and machine learning to take up such fulfilling projects. Facebook and Twitter are being extensively used to bond with fellow legal professionals and enter into professional relationships with the clientele.
Robot lawyers are legal AI applications performing varied legal and paralegal tasks. Some legal AI solutions are for the benefit of clients, while others are meant to aid attorneys. For example, DoNotPay is a free legal counsel chatbot invented by British entrepreneur Joshua Browder. This AI-enabled bot determines whether people have a genuine case for not paying their parking tickets and has reportedly resolved 375,000 parking ticket grievances within a short span of two years – a testimony to its huge potential for saving governmental time and money involved in handling traffic disputes.
Online Legal Services
Online legal service providers are displacing brick-and-mortar legal offices at a fast clip. They are offering a wide array of services online at affordable prices, rendering everything from patents and visas to estate planning simple and affordable.
Law schools are incorporating technology into their curriculum as part of a larger inter-disciplinary approach to the practice of law. By means of coursework, internships and conferences focused on legal technology, law schools are training the future lawyers to deliver legal services in an effective and efficient manner.
Technology, in effect, is not eliminating legal jobs, but re-allocating resources towards analytical and strategic aspects of the legal practice. As technology becomes an inevitable and all-encompassing tool in the competitive world of modern law firm, attorneys need to embrace it or risk being left behind.