Nobody can deny that in the modern times technology has flooded business across the world and the legal services industry is no exception. The legal sector now implementing legaltech into its practices, both in large law firms and legal tech start-ups, in order to stay ahead of the curve. In many countries legal tech has achieved different level of developments and relevance according to their capacities. For example, the Mexican legaltech ecosystem is at a very early stage and is beginning to bloom with new start-ups and services entering the market and also when we talk about the US and Europe which are two of the busiest and most advanced legaltech industries in the world, with around a thousand start-ups registered in important directories, such as the “Tec index” of Codex, the Stanford Centre for Legal Informatics.
In today’s time when everybody is busy with technology and new generation adopting technologies for their work, traditional lawyers and law firms face quite a big challenge in the market because of the lack of flexibility at work. The necessity to practice flexibility at work could be a hard pill to swallow for traditional industries especially for the legal industry. It is observing that one of the significant changes that lawyers must adapt to and be comfortable with is changing their employees’ work processes to retain talent, increase employee engagement and ensure a high level of work, leading to happier and more motivated employees who are satisfied with their daily tasks and their healthy work-life balance and this will help in progress in work and make the work more efficient.
Many traditional law firms are facing digital disruption which means that, once dominated the industry must now compete with a whole host of other emerging competitors. In particular, the rise of legal start-ups and ‘DIY law’, such as Law dingo and Rocket Lawyer and many others offering cheaper, more efficient, and transparent solutions to clients which have placed unprecedented pressure on attorneys or lawyers to develop more competitive services to maintain relevance in the market for the company.
One of the biggest challenges for the traditional lawyer today is being able to adapt quickly enough with the introduction of new technologies and familiar with that. A particular concern for many traditional law firms is that the ‘brick-and-mortar’ structure may translate into an inability to adapt with the changing industry. In part, increasing technological disruption has signalled the need for continuous upskilling of the modern lawyer wishing to stay relevant in the industry and update themselves.
One of the major change which will help legal tech to overcome this crisis is the transparency and efficiency of a firm’s spending and billing. Nowadays, clients have been more attentive with their billing and spending on legal and other services, which is in result need to be more transparent and efficient. In current scenario entrepreneursand then legal tech start-ups have been much quicker to appreciate the client’s needs and the changes in the market traditional providers.In terms of technology, one of the primary effects and purposes of the legaltech industry is to introduce a heavier technical component into the legal practice and consequently changing the way of doing things by the lawyer and law firm. But it is necessary to understand whether these changes or implementations will cause true disruption to the industry or simply a small boost in the time taken to deliver work to clients.
These technologies will help revolutionize the legal landscape and develop areas such as e-discovery in litigation, automated and intelligent due diligence processes in compliance and M&A, and smart contracts. The first two tools already used in legal processes, while the third is not only a new element in the market, but possibly can be a new threat for some lawyers and law firms. In an effort to consolidate student’s knowledge on technology of law, many law schools in the world started to create prototypes for students and apps centred around legal issues, or teaching students to code using Python language. Being a lawyer nowadays it is necessary to have the knowledge of coding and programming languages.
It is important in the first step that a legal start up should take, is to position itself in the market as a tool rather than a competitor. The main focus of entrepreneurs should aim to develop new technology law and to make it easier for lawyers to fulfil their client’s needs. The key elements of success to build a start-up in legal- tech is firstly you have to test the marked nature of the clients and after if your service is good and you got support from ranked legal advisors, you can start scaling up your start up while simultaneously continuing to develop new products and technology.
In modern times lawyers are expected to develop a larger skillset and practice in a wider range of legal matters than ever before- from negotiating between telecommunications companies, to advocating for media rights and digital privacy. Today, from technology lawyers are facing pressure to provide cheaper, more efficient services and compete against the more digitally capable firm.
In the time of challenges and disruptions a more digitally connected economy may bring to the profession, legal tech is playing a pivotal role in helping both local and international communities and individuals to gain access to the law. Nowadays a modern lawyer must not only accustom themselves with technology at a local level, but apply these skills broadly, in a global context. Many legal tech companies started and allow individuals to draft and access standardised legal documents without considering the potential costs involved with hiring an attorney.
While digital technologies canbe accessed anywhere in the world, but there is different regulations and laws which are in place in each jurisdiction which may affect the use of the digital technology across different jurisdictions. In many ways legal tech is helping untapped overseas communities and minorities access to the law. Virtual legal practice is one of the beneficial thing that is quickly gaining popularity, allowing clients and lawyers to access shared documents and information through a secure portal which is connected to the internet. It is very helpful for international law firms to give service to overseas clients with the help of technology such as online, or virtual services. For practicing firms, it is advisable to research and keep up to date with changes in the tech sector, and always try to identify new and creative ways to integrate technology into the workplace to fully utilise its benefits. So it is very much clear that the benefits of utilising technology in legal practice outweigh any potential cost.
It is necessary for the traditional as well as modern lawyers to interpret legal issues from a new perspective, keeping an open mind and considering the newer, untapped possibilities that convergence of the law with technology now bring. One of the best things happened through Digital innovation is that it removed the restraints of jurisdiction and geography in legal practice, allowing lawyers from all over the world to connect.
As global, and digitally capable lawyers, we need to embrace the changes emerging in our legal industry, and start integrating technology into our work practices and processes, to create the solutions and give better results that our client’s want. So Legal tech is undeniably a desired element breaking into the legal sphere, which plays an essential role in a world dominated by large firms that will eventually have to offer their support and use their technology to improve the service of legal services. Technology law is not a competition in the market but it is a team game. A game we must all support for the sake of our clients and the future success of the industry
1.Guillermo Miranda, Co-Founder and Legal Director of Lucius Report, How Legaltech Start-ups are Revolutionizing the Legal Services Industry, LAWAHEAD<https://lawahead.ie.edu/how-legaltech-is-revolutionizing-the-legal-services-industry/ accessed 19 September 2020
2.STEPHANIE PALMER-DERRIEN, New technologies are throwing out the book on law procedures, and Aussie legaltech start-ups are helping them do it, SmartCompany<https://www.smartcompany.com.au/startupsmart/news/legaltech-startups-ai-blockchain/ accessed 19 September 2020
3.Daniel W. Linna Jr. , What We Know and Need to Know About Legal Start-ups<https://digitalcommons.law.msu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1540&context=facpubs accessed 19th September 2020