Technology has revolutionized every area of our lives, and the legal industry is no exception. While law firms and legal departments were initially slow to adopt technological advances, today these tools are allowing lawyers and support staff to reimagine the way they practice law.
Here are just a few of the tech tools that have changed legal practice:
1. Electronic Billing
Electronic billing or “e-billing” has become a way to help law firms stay on top of their accounts while also reducing the volume of paper handled by the office. These systems often allow lawyers to log billable hours quickly, relying on the system to sort the results to the proper clients.
Electronic case management systems can be linked to billing systems as well, allowing law firms to see where each employee’s time goes and whether it is spent effectively on client matters.
2. Transactional Matters
While electronic case management platforms are most commonly used in litigation settings, technological tools for transactional matters have also risen to prominence. Tools like electronic filing of trademark and patent applications, tracking stock holdings, preparing budgets and monitoring outside counsel fees have streamlined many tasks for corporate legal departments, freeing up staff to focus on substantive matters.
3. Courtroom Work
Electronic filing has been available in US federal courts for over a decade, but its extension to state and local courts has allowed attorneys to take advantage of these systems while simultaneously reducing postage fees and paper waste. Generous filing deadlines also make it simpler for lawyers to ensure that vital documents reach the court in time, instead of relying on the postal service.
Many courtrooms now facilitate the use of technology in hearings and trials as well. Built-in monitors, document cameras, computer connections and similar tools help litigators bring their clients’ stories to life for judges and juries.
4. Hiring Tools
Law firms and legal departments increasingly benefit from platforms designed to help them better coordinate with their attorney recruiters and to manage their hiring and staff.
For example, Artificial Intelligence enabled hiring tools can help law firms pinpoint the skills and traits shared by their most successful attorneys. When seeking either a new permanent hire or a temporary attorney for a defined period, these law firms can share the system’s findings with their recruiter. The recruiter, in turn, can recommend only those candidates who share the skills and traits that correlate with success in that particular law firm.
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