Technology Trends Shaping the Legal Industry
The legal profession has a reputation for being among the last professions to embrace any new change in technology. Technological innovation has improved service delivery throughout the legal field – and law firms and legal departments that don’t take a proactive approach to these changing trends do so to their own detriment.
Here is a look at some of the top technological trends currently shaping the legal industry:
- Budgeting Ahead
A slow-adopter approach to technology means many law firms and legal departments are still trapped in a “we’ll fix it when it breaks” mentality when it comes to workstations and other computer equipment. Firms that proactively budget for tech – and plan to replace workstations every three to five years – however, find that workflow is more efficient and maintenance costs are lower.
- Tech Training
It’s easy to avoid adopting new tech as a way to avoid facing the fact that we may not know how to make it work for us. Law firms and legal departments that invest in tech training, however, find that newly-adopted hardware and software make the organization more efficient. Many local bar associations offer tech-training programs, some for CLE credit.
- Legal Research
Particularly for older attorneys, the words “legal research” still conjure up rows of reporters and stacks of law reviews and pocket parts. Younger attorneys in particular are jumping on the tech-based research bandwagon, however. And search features in free sites, like Google, continue to improve, lowering the costs of performing legal research online.
According to the American Bar Association, one-in-four law firms and legal departments have no security policy at all – a risky business for a profession in which confidentiality is paramount. Encryption is still underutilized, and many organizations allow or even expect employees to work on personal devices, despite grave security concerns. Security in technology is expected to change the legal field dramatically in coming years as a result.
- Mobile Tech and Cloud Computing
The ability to access one’s entire computer “world” on the go is revolutionizing how the world does business, and it is changing how legal cases are handled as well. When software and files are accessible from any location with an Internet connection, attorneys can work as efficiently from a client’s office or a courtroom lobby as they can from their own offices.
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