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Legal Tech



What is legal tech?

Legal tech is a very exciting upcoming sector in the law, which is set to be a really innovative and interesting move into the future!


In short, this new advancement in the law provides legal services through the realm of technology and is set to revolutionise the industry. This technology aims to support, quicken and improve legal services. (Introduction to lawtech, 2019).



How can legal tech help lawyers?

Not only does legal technology encourage efficiency in the more repetitive tasks lawyers undertake (drawing up similar contracts like NDA’s), but it also gives all law firms access to “powerful research tools” (Correa, 2019).


Legal Tech is a vast sub-sector, and it covers a broad range of legal services; from helping with contract formation to benefit clients, to efficient research databases helping in-house processes run smoothly.



Who does legal tech help?

Magic Circle firms have been hot on the heels of this new development, including Linklaters who have established ‘CreateiQ’, an in-house contract formation hub that speeds up the everyday task of contract drafting. Additionally, working with others like ‘OneNDA’, to produce a universal Non-disclosure Agreement (Innovation at linklaters - doing things differently, n.d.). However this legal tech not only helps the largest firms, but also encourages the smaller firms, ensuring that they receive a higher quality platform for research (Correa, 2019).


Legal tech not only makes life easier for law firms and services faster for clients, but also provides for a higher quality set of work as well as encouraging collaboration.



Legal Tech has the following basic applications:

  1. Legal practice management software: e.g. Clio, PracticePanther Legal Software. Conducting back office tasks such as document sharing.

  2. eDiscovery software: e.g. DISCO Ediscovery, Logikcull. Identifying and organising admissible evidence.

  3. Conflict check software: e.g. Amicus Attorney, AbacusLaw.

  4. Legal operations software: e.g. SimpleLegal, Thomson Reuters Legal Tracker. Good for in-house teams.

  5. Legal research software: e.g. Bodhala, TeamConnect.

  6. Social discovery software: e.g. Page Vault, X1 Social Discovery.

  7. Legal billing software: e.g. Clio, PracticePanther Legal Software.

These applications are focused on streamlining the work of a lawyer by making menial tasks, such as organising documents, more efficient. (Szakiel,2019)



In Practice: Working with the Client


Companies at the cutting edge of legal tech innovation (e.g. Clifford Chance) have already applied technology to more nuanced situations. Indeed, these developments begin to give more power and independence to the client. E.g.:

  • Clifford Chance has developed apps to provide legal information to clients in an accessible manner: Cyber Assist, Dawn Raids, Employment Law Guide and Litigation Guide App.

  • Clients can also use 'CC Dr@ft' to produce legal documents themselves. In general, current technology is not prepared to generate finalised documents, as issues inevitably arise on the tone of communication and the nature of multi-jurisdictional matters.

  • Finally, their teams use Data Science, transactions, litigation and dispute resolution toolkits to guide advice and decision making. (Digital Solutions, n.d.)



Clifford Chance has provided some statistics on the effectiveness of this legal tech:

  • The data science toolkit alleviates 25% of the manual workload;

  • Use of technology in a loan portfolio migration led to a 40% cost reduction for a client; and

  • The transaction toolkit makes relevant processes 40% faster. (Legal technology, n.d.)



How will legal tech be the future?

A) Contractual processes will become the new norm


Contract negotiations will move to technological platforms to promote better collaborations, speedy communications and access to the market in real time. Online platforms will allow lawyers working in teams to have a standardised process across the corporation. This can happen through uniform practices across the organisation for internal approvals, signing agreements and contract designs. The benefits of having such a platform is the reduction of risk, robust version control and automated escalation points (10 predictions: The Legal Function in 2025, n.d.).



B) Law firms will completely adopt automation


The road to embracing automation means that tedious tasks are completed efficiently. This includes for example, legal document creation and review. Lexis Create is an example of this, which allows lawyers to search for clauses, minimise their mistakes, validate citations and ensure their work is ready for clients (Brown, 2023)!



C) Client experience will take centre stage


Law firms of the future will focus on client experience. Client expectations mean that law firms must embrace the instantaneous. Technology will allow firms to automate customer service, with real-time responses through chatbots and AI. Client hubs will give clients immediate updates. And cloud-based project management systems will provide timely and consistent notifications, affording clients complete transparency. So competition will force firms in the legal sector to improve client experience (Brown, 2023).



D) Reduction of lawyers in the legal sector


As technology enables new strategies for sourcing legal services, and as demands intensify to do more with less, the traditional legal function hierarchy will likely morph into a more agile and cost-effective structure.


Use of automated solutions, chatbots and other forms of productised legal services will increase, and these will need support from lawyers as well as a more multidisciplinary workforce with different skill sets. In fact, the proportion of legal work done by paralegals, data analysts, operational experts and other specialists in the legal function might rise to the point where legal professionals become almost a minority (10 predictions: The Legal Function in 2025, n.d.).



Bibliography

  1. Brown, D. (2023, March 1). How legal tech will change in the future: Lexisnexis blogs. LexisNexis. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://www.lexisnexis.co.uk/blog/future-of-law/how-legal-tech-will-change-in-the-future

  2. Correa, M. (2020, October 19). What is legal technology and how is it changing our industry? . The Lawyer Portal. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://www.thelawyerportal.com/blog/what-is-legal-tech-and-how-is-it-changing-industry/

  3. Digital Solutions. Clifford Chance. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://www.cliffordchance.com/innovation-hub/innovation/innovation-digital-solutions.html

  4. Innovation at linklaters - doing things differently. Linklaters. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://www.linklaters.com/en/about-us/innovation

  5. Introduction to lawtech. The Law Society. (2019). Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/campaigns/lawtech/guides/introduction-to-lawtech

  6. Legal technology. Clifford Chance. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://www.cliffordchance.com/innovation-hub/innovation/capabilities/legal-technology.html

  7. Szakiel, P. (2019). What is Legal Tech? (+how it's changing the legal industry) - G2. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://www.g2.com/articles/legal-tech

  8. 10 predictions: The Legal Function in 2025. KPMG. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://kpmg.com/xx/en/home/insights/2020/12/future-of-legal-article-series.html











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