·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary


Law in a Digital Age: How is Tech Impacting the Age-old Sector?

— November 12, 2020

While the industry has been slow to the changes, we believe that once it becomes mainstream, the legal industry will become one of the most effective sectors to have been digitalized.

Digital transformation has crossed the stage of being a trend. It has become an era which businesses and industries from across the globe have started joining the bandwagon of. While sectors like e-commerce, entertainment and media, and the education domain having realized the benefits of digital transformation have started making the move, there are some industries like the legal sector which are slow to adopt. 

In this article, we will be looking into ways digital transformation is knocking on the doors of the legal industry to make it more efficient and effective. The intent is to prepare agencies to witness the same growth as The Big Four and some other law-based companies like LegalZoom (retail segment) and UnitedLex who have traversed the digital divide and have positioned themselves for capturing bigger market share.

But before we look into that, let us look at some of the explanations as to why the legal industry has been slow to the digital transformation changes. 

Here can be some of the prospective reasons:

  • Lesser awareness 
  • Concentration of the job in hand and not the bigger picture
  • Not having a client-centric focus
  • Systematic resistance to change
  • Lesser demand for digital transformation among users. 

However these reasons are not keeping legal firms from taking a proactive approach to counter the competition that stares at them in the near future. While still a finger-counted number, several legal firms have started taking the Big Four’s route and looking into ways to transform themselves digitally. 

Without further ado, here are some of those ways. 

Electric Discovery 

The concept of electronic discovery surrounds collection of electronically stored information used for investigations and lawsuits. Reviewing archived books and legal documents for accessing information about the case and supporting arguments have become a thing of the past. In the modern time, legal teams have to rely on digital communication, online messages, emails, social media, and e-documents for strengthening their case. 

This growing need to move electronics has led to the creation of several new analytical and legal management tools enabling legal bodies to manage electronic communication and data. 

Real-time Communication 

One of the most popular benefits of performing digital transformation activities lies in aiding real-time communication. While there was nothing wrong with emails, phone call, and fax mode, nothing can beat the real-time nature of sending a message when the client is in immediate need for a lawyer. 

To aid real time communication, firms have started moving to less conventional platforms like online messaging platforms and even social media. 

New Digitalization Rules = Greater Need for Legal Team’s Skill Enhancement

With the world getting digital, we have officially entered the era where data is gold or maybe even more expensive than it. 

But with this massive amount of data, a grim picture has also emerged. A picture where private data is being hacked every minute and there’s a massive onset of security threat issues online. To safeguard website visitors and consumers’ data, several laws like GDPR have been applied in the world wide web. Devised to safeguard website visitors’ information, it has become important for businesses to keep track of the newborn rules and regulations of the internet world.

Graphic depiction of data flowing as golden light; image by Joshua Sortino, via
Graphic depiction of data flowing as golden light; image by Joshua Sortino, via

Keeping track of the minute details, advertisement, copyright etc. requires legal teams to expand their skillsets. 

Modernizing the Legal Review Systems 

Till some years ago, the role of paralegals and interns in a law firm was to dig through multiple legal documents, court rulings, and books for finding supporting aid and information. But with the growing role of technology in the legal sector, this support won’t be necessary going forward. The legal documents have started getting scanned and uploaded to the digital libraries and databases. Legal professionals have started turning towards modernized review systems that are correctly tagged and archived. 

When it comes to simplifying the process, AI and automated systems are known to be leading the pack. The technologies are being used for two primary reasons: for converting physical documents in digital content and for searching & discovering information. 

E-Filing in Courtroom 

The sector wide movement to modernize the legal systems has not left the courtroom untouched. The way how content is submitted and handled in the courtroom legal environment has become electronic. 

Globally, legal bodies have started making it mandatory for the legal professionals to submit and file their documents in the court electronically. They then take the filings and upload them in the online databases which makes the court proceedings efficient. 

In addition to e-filing, courtrooms have started witnessing the entry of computer equipment, built-in monitors, and review technology – all present to display data in the courtroom during a session or presentation. 

E-billing and Online Payments 

Modernization of the payment systems and invoicing has become an industry norm in the current time. Majority of the global law firms have replaced the traditional paper based invoice with e-billing. 

With online portals and web-based communication becoming the prime hub for modern day legal firms, companies are looking to incorporate updated payment systems in their offerings as well. 

On-demand Legal Services 

The ease of smartphones and need for legal assistance without struggling to find the funds to pay a top notch legal firm has led to an onset of new-gen mobile applications. These applications are designed to help users get legal support in real-time while giving them options in terms of fees they are comfortable paying. 

The trend has started driving legal firms to launch their mobile applications to attract more clients. An example of this can be seen in LegalZoom, an online legal firm which also has their brick-and-mortar offices in the United Kingdom.

Here were the different ways the legal sector has started becoming a recipient of digital transformation. While the industry has been slow to the changes, we believe that once it becomes mainstream, the legal industry will become one of the most effective sectors to have been digitalized.

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