This week, we’re continuing our series looking at digital transformation trends in different industries, such as healthcare, retail, finance, media and entertainment, education, government, and automotive. As we’ve seen, digital transformation is revolutionizing every industry—product and service industries alike. Next up for discussion: the field of law.
Initially the legal industry was slow to adopt digital changes brought about by the digital transformation. After all, they deal with highly confidential information—information that needs to remain secure for their clients’ welfare. But now—with huge advances in virtualization and cloud security—most law firms are embracing digital business trends, realizing they hold tremendous potential for time and cost savings. Now that the American Bar Association has laid out specific policies related to legal technology, the verdict is in: it’s a go for technology in the legal system, and there is still plenty of advancement to be made. The following are just a few of the top trends I see in the sector.
One of the most tedious aspects of law is research. There are boxes of client history, briefings, reports, testimony, and other information that needs to be scrubbed to find what’s relevant. Sometimes it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. But using machine learning, lawyers can quickly find the information that is most relevant to their cases, saving hours of research and allowing them to more accurately estimate costs. In fact, LexisNexis DiscoveryIQ estimates using analytics can save 70 percent of the expenditures involved in legal reviews. Talk about a worthwhile investment.
Hire a robot to fight your parking ticket? It’s been happening for years in the United Kingdom, where the AI-driven Do Not Pay app helps determine whether people have a case for not paying their tickets. Using artificial intelligence, the Do Not Pay app overturned $3 million in parking tickets in its first few months of service, and 375,000 over a two-year period. Even better: as of July 2017, it’s also available in the United States.
Everything is going mobile these days, and the field of law is no different. Mobile devices connect lawyers to clients, and lawyers to their firms. Research shows some 90 percent of lawyers use smartphones. Personally, I’m shocked it isn’t closer to 100 percent. Still, they aren’t just using the phones to talk and text. They’re using them to track billable hours quickly and easily, videoconference from any location to save on travel time, and even to work on trial prep. Now, billable hours are never lost due to the daily commute or travel time.
Law is all about performance—how many clients you bring in, how much you bill, and how often you win. Technology today makes it even easier for law firms to benchmark teams in the most meaningful and profitable ways. That could mean ensuring certain lawyers are always assigned to certain issues in which they most often win their cases, or certain parts of the legal process in which they perform most productively.
Online Legal Services
If you haven’t used LegalZoom for basic legal services like making a will or creating a DBA, you’re probably paying too much. The online legal service provider—which also has brick-and-mortar offices in the United Kingdom—offers a wide range of services online for affordable prices, making everything from patents and visas to estate planning as simple—and affordable—as possible. In the future, I’m guessing even more online chat and legal advice services will continue to evolve, just like the online psychotherapy field has developed in recent years.
The legal field is not one known for high-flying change. In fact, many aspects of law never change at all. But the field has stepped up to take a smart and measured approach to tech adoption that is already saving companies and clients alike lots of time and money. On the client side, they’re able to find services cheaper and easier. And on the firm side, they’re able to do their work more quickly than ever before. The jury is longer out. Technology is a sure win for this industry.
Additional Resources on This Topic:
Can Artificial Intelligence Improve Law Enforcement?
New IoT Business Models Equal New Legal Challenges?
This article was first published on Forbes.
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