How legal tech is changing the landscape of law & boosting efficiency
It’s not just hype; legal tech trends are setting the tone for law firms big and small and dictating operations, processes, and how efficiently things get done. In some firms, legal tech is even making things exciting, which is saying a lot if you work in law. In commemoration of what some said could never be done (namely that technology would never fly in an industry like law), zbrella is looking at four of the biggest legal trends redefining efficiency.
Would it really be a legal tech article if I didn’t mention Cloud first? Undoubtedly the most ubiquitous and yet least understood technology of the bunch, Cloud software is kind of braggadocious. For starters, it’s transformative. From lower setup cost solutions to public, private, and hybrid Clouds, there’s a Cloud for every type of firm. Translation: more firms are willing to use Cloud tech, thereby reaping the benefits.
From billing to time tracking to document storage/management and more, the industry has seen plenty of improvements in efficiency from this legal tech. Cloud software is pretty much accessible from anywhere, on any device, making it easily accessible and streamlining connectivity; it’s relatively user-friendly, improving industry-wide tech-resistance; new features and add-ons happen automatically, making updates to the software as efficient as possible. Above all else, Cloud has really found a way to keep a firm connected to all types of important documents, data, client information, and more, creating a fast and efficient means of doing business in law.
Ditching the pen and paper is a huge leg up in efficiency lots of law firms are turning to. The most obvious advantage of going paperless is the actual cash flow you save in printing materials (you’d be surprised how much it adds up to). Instead of budgeting for paper, ink, printing, etc., information is digitized and organized in suites like Office 365 and Google Apps to name a few. Viewing privileges and who has access to what documents can be chosen within these types of applications, allowing for an easily-accessible, collaborative workplace that eliminates paper trails and streamlines efficiency.
Going paperless improves the overall efficiency of legal research, too, allowing users to digitally lookup old documents, minus the tedious search and find paper process (and a few paper cuts, too). In all honesty, there’s no reason not to go paperless. Not only has paperless tech improved storage, accessibility, and collaboration, it’s digitized entire operations, like automating scanning machines, vastly improving efficiency and promoting productivity.
Process automation is one of those words lawyers either hate or love. Indisputably, however, automation is streamlining the legal world and making strides in efficiency. How? Artificial Intelligence (AI) has a lot to do with the success of process automation. From automated intake forms to data mining for e-discovery to legal research, contract review, and more, process automation takes time-consuming, manual tasks and, well, automates them. Already, law firms can see an improvement in time, labor, and accuracy efficiency.
Two months ago the industry was introduced to AI that reviews legal contracts 60X faster than paralegals, and that was just one among many. The potential to tap into AI that can automate the many tedious processes of law is huge, making it one of the most current, efficient legal tech trends on the list that will likely continue to keep growing.
Short for “”Application Programming Interface,” APIs for dummies is easily explained as a way of making two different software systems talk to each other. Everyone can agree that software is critical to managing a lucrative law firm. So everyone can agree that the more software a firm runs, the more programs a firm needs to manage. The more programs and platforms a firm manages, the more confusing and time-consuming it becomes for everyone. APIs basically alleviate all of that.
Instead of entering duplicate data entries, which is common when managing multiple databases, APIs look to integrate a firm’s multiple systems, thereby eliminating the possibility of frequent inconsistencies and errors. Integration of two systems simply allows for a more seamless stream of data to run back and forth, ensuring efficiency, accuracy, and consistency. The concept is so simple it hurts, and yet it remains as one of the most efficient legal tech trends least likely to be adopted.