The present pandemic time that the world is going through has completely changed the mindsets of not only individuals but businesses too throughout the world. There has been a gradual shift in the way businesses operate now, with some changes likely to stay for the long-term.
If we talk about the legal sector, it too has been impacted by COVID-19 severely, resulting in the adoption of other strategies and processes to ensure business continuity. So, let us figure out how things have and will change for the legal sector in the coming times.
Top 9 Future-Focused Legal Industry Changes
- Remote Working
Most of the law firms and legal professionals didn’t consider the remote working option to be an efficient one. However, due to the pandemic, they were forced to work remotely. This is one change that is likely to stay for long in the future as well since the legal sector has understood the importance and benefits associated with remote working such as work flexibility, work-life balance, lower business expenses, etc., all adding to work efficiency and profitability eventually.
- Better Resource Management
In the past, law firms were not able to use their junior attorneys hired for litigation support assistance to their best potential since they were always made to gather, store, manage, and process titles, or inform attorneys regarding their daily schedule, and more.
However, with the legal calendaring and title management applications becoming famous for performing all such tasks, it gives senior lawyers a great opportunity to make the best use of their resources (here, junior lawyers), and it is surely going to be the way in the future as well.
- Video Commuting
The use of video conferencing technology will be on the rise for sure as it enables effective communication between clients and internal team members in a convenient way. There are times when one needs to talk to a person face-to-face since things look unsorted over the phone. However, with the help of video conferencing, the need to move from one place to the other gets eliminated since it provides you with the opportunity to interact face-to-face.
- Cloud Adoption
The use of cloud technology is on the rise in the legal sector, and this is surely going to be the top priority for firms in the future. A lot of technologies for project management and collaboration like Microsoft Office 365 enable legal teams to work on a single page and communicate with each other for resolving queries related to the case. Apart from this, the use of digital case management to arrange, plan, and store vital documents, a list of contacts, dates, billing data, etc., in a single database paves the way for easy accessibility for team members.
- Virtual Court Proceedings
Ever since COVID-19 started, there were a lot of cases that went unattended due to the closing of courts. This finally led to considering e-filing through which lawyers could file documents in the electronic format as directed by the Federal and State courts. In the future, virtual court proceedings, including trials using video technology, will be one of the significant changes in the legal sector in order to save time, money, and other useful resources.
eDiscovery is not a new thing in the legal sector, but still, there are a lot of attorneys and law firms that are not using this convenient method of researching case-related information. However, in the coming times, the use of eDiscovery will be a norm amongst legal professionals throughout the world. With advancements in analytics, this process would become even faster, owing to its greater searching speed for valuable information using essential keywords/phrases.
- Smart Contracts
Paper contracts are fast losing out on their importance for making contracts as smart contracts are being preferred over them now. Using blockchain technology, a lot of information can be collected digitally and in a legitimate manner. For instance, to collect client signatures, retina-scanning is used in the form of a witness for forming legal contracts. This will turn out to be the legal industry’s turning point in the future, especially due to the fact that clients demand greater convenience and transparency during contract formation now.
- Automation and Artificial Intelligence
The use of automation in the form of Automated Self-Service Apps is something that is fast catching the eyes of legal professionals. Such apps specialize in triggering risks while reviewing risky scenarios in different legal cases.
2 Self-Service App Types:
- Best Practice Apps
Such apps are used for generating best practice contracts, including top advice as followed and maintained by a Law Firm.
- Bespoke Apps
Such apps are used for generating self contracts/advice in accordance with your previous templates/playbooks.
Automation of the following can be included in the Self-Service:
- Independent contractor advice
- Data Privacy
- Influencer Agreements
- Non-Disclosure agreements
- Supplier agreements
- Partnership agreements
- Employment agreements
- Commercial agreements
- Product Disclosure Statements
Apart from this, with the help of artificial intelligence, law firms can easily install lawyer chatbots to know client concerns for spontaneous addressing using automation.
- Educational Refinements
Legal education is imperative in order to be an attorney. Of course, legal professionals have to attend law colleges and universities to get ready for the industry. Now, since things are changing in the legal industry itself, its impact will definitely be seen in the way legal education is imparted to budding lawyers to ensure future-focused graduates who can match the pace at which technology and the legal industry are moving and/or will move.
The future is uncertain for sure, but yes, there are things that are definitely moving to make a mark in the legal industry in the future. Technology has a huge role to play in the way law firms and attorneys will work and provide services to clients.
Apart from this, preference for litigation support services will also be on the rise since, during the pandemic, a lack of technically skilled workforce was seen at large, but this void was fulfilled easily with the help of outsourcing services.