Legal Tech Revolution: the Reality of Using Technology for 21st Century Lawyers
New to legal tech? Our Campus Ambassador Oyin Olufayo from the University of South Wales discusses the term, including the advantages and disadvantages of using technology in your legal practise.
What is legal technology?
Legal technology, also known as "legal Tech" refers to the use of technology to improve and automate legal services and the legal industry. The adoption of legal technology in the United Kingdom has increased significantly in recent years. According to a report by the Law Society of England and Wales, the UK legal technology market was valued at 3.5 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at the rate of 10-12% year over the next five years. Additionally, a Thomson Reuters report claims that “74% of senior partners at UK Law firms should be investing in more technology” which further illustrates the increasing market need for firms to adopt legal Tech.
There are many different types of legal technology, including tools for different tools, such as document management cases, management, legal research, and e-discovery. Some examples of legal tech products and services that are being used in the UK include online legal document creation platforms, virtual courtrooms, and legal chatbots. A recent example would be where legal technology products were utilized in small claims court cases. The UK Ministry of Justice introduced online claims resolution (OCSR), allowing individuals and businesses to resolve over 10,000 pounds without court presence.
How could legal technology change the profession?
The use of legal technology has the potential to increase efficiency and accuracy in the legal industry, as well as to make legal services more accessible and affordable to the public. Some experts predict that legal technology will continue to transform the legal industry in the 21st century, potentially leading to significant changes in the way that legal services are delivered, for example, it will give better analytics and insights such as legal data analytics and AI-powered legal research platforms will provide lawyers and firms more valuable insight.
There are several potential benefits of legal technology, including but not limited to:
Increased efficiency: legal technology can automate many tasks that were previously done manually, which can save time and reduce the workload of legal professionals. These tools are already existing, through legal technology products such as ContractExpress, Kira, LaGeex, and Neota Logic.
Improved accuracy: Some legal tech tools use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to analyze and interpret data, which can help to reduce the risk of errors.
Cost savings: Legal technology can reduce the amount of time and labor required to complete certain tasks, which can lower the cost of legal services. Legal Vision is a typical example of an app that is efficient for this service, a custom-built technology assists lawyers to provide a faster, better quality, and more cost-effective experience.
Improved access to justice: the tools can make it easier for people to access legal information and services, particularly in rural or underserved areas. Typical examples would be Legal Beagles, LawWorks, etc.
Greater transparency: Some legal technology platforms provide access to real-time data and analytics, which can increase transparency in the legal process.
Enhanced security: legal technology tools can help to protect sensitive data and ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
However, with the reality of so many advantages of legal technology, there are a few concerns and potential disadvantages:
Lack of personalization: Legal technology tools may not be able to fully replicate the personal touch and individualized advice that a human lawyer can provide.
Dependency on technology: Relying on legal tech tools may create a dependency on technology, which could be problematic if the tools were to malfunction or become unavailable.
Ethical concerns: The use of AI in legal technology raises ethical concerns, including the potential for bias in decision-making and the need to ensure that the rights and interests of all stakeholders are protected.
It is important to consider the potential advantages and disadvantages of legal technology carefully and to ensure that the tools are used ethically and responsibly. This may require the development and implementation of ethical guidelines and the establishment of oversight mechanisms to ensure that legal technology is aligned with the values and principles of the legal profession.
A closing note for 21st-century lawyers:
There are several reasons why 21st-century lawyers may want to consider careers in legal technology:
Demand for legal tech skills is increasing: The legal industry is increasingly adopting technology, and there is a growing demand for lawyers with legal technology skills.
Opportunities for career advancement: Lawyers who are proficient in legal technology may have an advantage in the job market and may be more likely to be promoted or given additional responsibilities within their firms.
Alternative career paths: Legal technology is a rapidly evolving field, and there are many new and emerging career paths and hybrid roles that are being created as a result. Lawyers who are interested in this field may be able to find exciting and innovative roles that utilize their skills and expertise. Examples of these roles include Legal Analytics Expert, Legal Project Manager, Legal AI Specialist, and Legal Innovation Manager.
Improvement of the delivery of legal services: Lawyers who work in the field will have the opportunity to use technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of legal services, which can have a positive impact on the legal profession and on society as a whole.