The legal industry is one of the most complex sectors when considering state-of-the-art technology applications. They are inundated with vast amounts of data generated on a daily basis, contributing significantly to the workloads of legal teams across the country. These data sets, ranging from litigation data to case management data, present an opportunity for firms to transform the services they can offer in the digital age.

In the past, law firms invested primarily in traditional IT infrastructure solutions such as case management and accounting software. However, with the exponential growth in data volumes, there has been a need for more innovative, data-driven solutions to maximise the potential of this information.

How is Technology Disrupting the Legal Sector?

As with many sectors across the globe, the law sector is experiencing a digital transformation in its practices. So, what are these technologies, and how will they continue to challenge and benefit the legal industry going forward?

Lawtech & Legaltech Explained

The rise of Lawtech and Legaltech has emerged as a transformational force in the legal industry. These technologies bring together advancements in big data, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), blockchain, and cybersecurity.

The aim is to support law firms in optimising their operations, improving their client services, and driving growth. From contract management and case-tracking solutions to software that automates the tedious and time-consuming clerical and administrative tasks lawyers do daily, Lawtech and Legaltech have facilitated a paradigm shift in the industry.

Reducing the Administrative Burden

One of the most significant challenges faced by legal firms is keeping up with the constant changes and augmentations in the law; something made more difficult by the fractured nature of the legal environment in the UK.  Lawtech solutions like predictive analytics software can help alleviate this issue by providing lawyers with relevant case law information and rulings.

Machine learning algorithms can comb through thousands of historical cases, extract the relevant information, and present it to lawyers in an easily digestible format. This software effectively enables lawyers to predict how the courts would rule on specific circumstances based on previously set precedents. Predictive analytics software is one of the technologies disrupting the legal sector, and its use is on the path to becoming a norm.

Chatbots Revolutionise Client Care

Another example of Lawtech innovation is the legal application of chatbots. This recent AI innovation works to communicate with clients more efficiently, effectively, and conveniently. Chatbots have been used for some time in the legal industry, allowing clients to request information, ask questions, and receive answers without waiting for a call back from a legal team member.

This frees up lawyers’ time to focus on higher-value work and allows the clients to obtain the information they need when they need it, 24 hours a day. Moreover, law firms can use chatbots internally to answer employee queries about workplace policies, agendas, training sessions, or even where the best coffee places are around the office.

Blockchain and Smart Contracts

Blockchain is another technology likely to disrupt the legal sector, specifically in the area of smart-contracts. Here it can assist in the management of contractual obligations between parties on a blockchain network, and automate its validation and execution, thereby providing the trust, transparency and accountability sorely needed in the sector.

Streamlining Legal Research with Lawtech

Legaltech and Lawtech also offer several solutions for legal research. In the past, lawyers had to rely on bound volumes of the legal codes, compiled digests, and journals to search for relevant information. These were physically cumbersome and time-consuming, which invariably led to inefficiencies in the legal process.

However, the development of software platforms that have massive libraries of legal information available on the cloud has provided more streamlined and more efficient access for legal practitioners. This has resulted in significant improvements in workflow efficiency and the quality of the legal advice offered.

Staying Competitive With Lawtech

As with other sectors, engaging with up-to-date tech is a choice that firm managers must take sooner rather than later. Evidence already shows that adopting elements of AI and ML into your legal firm can reduce costs, retain staff and provide you with a competitive advantage. However, the sooner these techs are adopted, the greater the advantage is likely to be.

It’s important to remember that supporting your staff team and clients to understand new technologies and how to perfect their implementation can often form the most substantial hurdle. From specific issues such as cyber security to a broader resistance to new tech, it’s easy for employees to struggle to master new tech or perceive it as intimidating or even a threat to their employment.

The crucial step for legal firms is to present their staff with the benefits of working with legaltech, rather than against it. Whether it’s reducing employee burnout, freeing up staff to do more interesting tasks or increasing the revenue of law firms, allowing them to increase salaries, there are significant benefits to engaging with the technologies currently disrupting the legal sector.

Revolutionise your legal practice with OneBeyond

For nearly 30 years, the One Beyond team has been developing bespoke software applications for established businesses. Adept at working across the very best technical platforms, we employ an agile working system to ensure that we can account for any sector, any size, with any software development challenge.

If you’re interested in how we can support you in implementing new technologies in your legal firm, feel free to get in touch, or take a look at the services we offer.