The legal industry is undergoing a significant metamorphosis. It’s adopting new technologies and processes to help become more efficient, effective, and profitable. And this digital transformation is taking place at an exponential pace.
But how did this digital transformation come about with the legal industry notoriously known for being a late-adopter? As you might’ve guessed, it occurred due to the pandemic that brought the world to a standstill.
Aspects that were inherently dependent on paper and face-to-face interactions had to be migrated online overnight. Whether it was hearings, stamping of documentation, or execution of documentation.
So, the legal industry is finally following suit and adopting technological advancements massively.
Leading Questions and Assumptions
Even though legal technology has been a significant business for decades, there remains a locked perception around the legal industry’s ability and appetite to “get with the times.” This perception is often a result of and justified by the end-user — lawyers and law firms.
Do you know any lawyers who dedicate time to R&D? Maybe patent lawyers who used to be engineers back in their wilder days, but otherwise, probably not. For high-profile professionals who hire other professionals to bill and track their time in 6-minute increments, testing new digital tools is pretty low on the totem pole. So, what does the future hold for the legal industry with a view towards digital transformation?
Digital Transformation in the Legal Industry
- Adoption of Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs)
With the pandemic, even the legal industry has begun outsourcing tasks to third-party providers, leading to the rise of ALSPs. These are essentially companies that provide law firms with legal services. Some of these services include:
- Litigation and Investigation Support
- Legal Research
- Document Review
- Regulatory Risk and Compliance
In addition to offering upfront cost savings, ALSPs work to add continuous value. For example, they promote algorithms that can consistently unearth evidence human researchers miss. Once ALSPs establish a partnership, they use this data to reinforce the purpose and longevity of their services.
- Implementing Explainable AI for eDiscovery
Artificial intelligence has numerous applications across a large number of industries. As it turns out, AI also has applications in the legal sector vis-a-vis discovery. Furthermore, this is not regular AI but explainable AI.
The “explainable artificial intelligence” concept is gaining prominence as machine learning gets better at autonomous decision-making. To be successful, these decisions and their reasons need to be clearly and adequately communicated to human beings.
Transparency is a prerequisite for AI applications (also known as “algorithmic accountability”), particularly in a legal setting. Christian Dirschl, Chief Content Architect at Wolters Kluwer Germany, states that “Explainable AI will highly support the uptake and exploitation of AI within the legal domain.”
Now, coming to discovery, predictive coding is using machine learning to sort and label electronic documents compiled as evidence. Human reviewers “teach” the predictive coding AI by providing it with a “seed set” of records so that it can identify suitable materials.
Now, deep learning techniques extend the abilities of predictive coding applications. Intelligent applications increasingly teach themselves by undergoing an observation period with human reviewers. As a result, they go beyond the original limits of predictive coding, dictating more and more of the entire e-discovery process. This includes both recognizing relevant concepts and information custodians and providing explainable results.
- Introduction of e-Hearing for Cases
As was the case with education and work meetings, even court hearings went digital with the help of videoconferencing. In the times of COVID-19, e-hearings arose as a safer replacement for traditional hearings. These hearings also eliminated the need for paper, as documents were shared, stamped, approved, and executed electronically.
- Rise in Adoption of Cloud-Based Solutions
The shift to digital for law firms brought about the problem of data security. Law firms were concerned about critical and confidential data being exposed on the Internet.
Here is where cloud-based technology solutions offered them a reprieve by providing numerous possibilities for data storage, sharing, and management, all encrypted obviously. Moreover, law practice management systems are now being equipped with cloud services. Such applications offer support in legal documentation management, client communication, time tracking, online payment options, and encrypted messaging.
- Boosting Automation with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)
APIs refer to a set of tools, protocols, and routines that help in building software applications. Additionally, they also act as an intermediary that enables two applications to converse with each other. Nowadays, legal firms are also opting for APIs. Why? The answer is simple, it helps with automating processes. Implementing automation helps in boosting innovation, streamlining operations in the law firms, reducing overheads, and improving business efforts.
- Digitizing Litigation Management
Along with discovery, scheduling is another crucial area to digitize. Legal cases revolve around filing deadlines. Products like mykase and Avacom streamline these historically manual processes by including deadline displays and alerts in their litigation management suite.
Document automation software also changes the workflow and the traditional structure of relationships with clients. Natural language processing captures vital information from emails, even on mobile devices, and recovers billable time. LegalTech News notes, “Manual time-entry will go the way of the fax document.”
Technological Innovation With Mutual Mobile
As with most technology adoptions, the same is here to stay in the legal industry. According to Reuters’, Tech and Law 2020 Report, 48% of professionals are ready to switch law firms if their existing firms lack technological innovation.
Don’t let your employees go down this road and instead rise to the technological challenge by partnering with Mutual Mobile. Armed with our technological expertise in various domains, you can become the best-in-class while attracting top talent.