TMCnet Feature
October 16, 2019

Technology Is Changing How Lawyers Practice Law

While law and technology have existed for ages, their relationship has always been complicated. Most lawyers who didn’t grow up with computers are quick to adopt them in their daily lives, but they remain hesitant when it comes to professional tasks. Nonetheless, technology is now transforming every aspect of the legal industry, including its workforce, providers, structure, and skillsets.

Here’s how technology is changing how lawyers practice law:

1. Heightened Connectivity Makes It Easy To Access Legal Services

As time and technology continue marching on, the internet is becoming more accessible to people all over the world. Whether it’s a mobile, a tablet, or a MacBook, people can use the internet to search for child custody lawyers, personal injury attorneys, and other legal practitioners. That has made it easy to speak with a professional lawyer and get help with different issues.

Today, most people can use their search engines to locate nearby law firms while reading pertinent reviews and reaching out to the lawyers directly. This connectivity has also allowed lawyers to automate low-value tasks easily, and in some cases, clients can seek legal advice from the comfort of their homes.

2. Forensic Audits

A lot of legal professionals work with law enforcement, accountants, and other government agencies that prosecute or defend those charged with finance-related white-collar crimes.  As such, the audit process is crucial to the entire investigation. However, people who perpetrate such crimes use IT tools.

To effectively work in such a technologically evolving environment, a lawyer must fully understand and demonstrate the suspect perpetrate such crimes. That will allow them to form a strong case for the defense or to prosecute the suspect in court. These technological skills also include asking the right questions when looking for evidence from associated computers.

3. Research and Administration

Lawyers who don’t work on fraud cases or forensic audits still use IT tools in their daily work life. Today, government statutes and legal documents are slowly being ported in web-accessible databases, eliminating the need for lawyers to frequent local libraries. For instance, paralegals and lawyers can sign up and subscribe to various legal research repositories to get the latest information on case law in specific businesses or industries.

When looking for information, electronic search on different legal databases helps lawyers to gather relevant data quickly. That leaves more time for analyzing the data and preparing for court cases. Legal Assistants and paralegals also submit the legal documents electronically to the courts.

4. Data Analytics in Law

For most companies, harnessing data for their marketing efforts has been boosting sales and helping them offer an excellent level of customer service. Nonetheless, unscrupulous business operators can use this data for fraudulent activities such as money laundering schemes.

Thanks to advancements in tech, knowledgeable lawyers can detect financial discrepancies using data analytics. IT analytics tools also come in handy when determining the level of income available for spousal or child support payments in family law.

5. Electronic Document Filing

No lawyer enjoys preparing mounds of tedious court documents. The process is not only tedious and expensive, not to mention the harsh implications that may follow if any mistake is made. In some cases, even the slightest delay may have you re-filing the documents again, which may cost you clients, cases, and revenue.  That’s even when someone has made a small mistake like listing the wrong case number on one of the documents.

Today, technology is making taking things to the next level by allowing lawyers to [prepare and deliver documents electronically. Instead of carrying and hand-delivering heaps of documents through the courier, lawyers and firms can upload and send PDF versions of these documents. In doing so, they can save both time and money to have enough opportunities to make sure that no mistakes are left in the documents they file.

6. Cloud Computing Offer Work Flexibility

Most lawyers have a hard time getting a good work-life balance. Between attending depositions, meeting with clients, and making their cases in court, it can be hard to keep up with everything. That’s why they need to do a lot of catch up work when they’re back in the office. However, that’s slowly changing thanks to cloud computing.

Cloud-based technologies enable lawyers to remain connected with their law firms even when out of office. That means the lawyer won’t need to sync work already done on the field after getting back to the office. For that, lawyers can work efficiently and productively while uploading work documents to cloud-based servers that promote collaboration among colleagues.

Bottom Line

Before the advancement of IT in the legal industries, lawyers spent a significant amount of time in law offices and libraries preparing for suits. Fortunately, the proliferation of different technological tools is making legal research fast and efficient. However, some technological tools have been controversial due to security and privacy concerns.

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