Technology and the Law

Technology will impact on how lawyers work. Almost everyone agrees with that proposition now. Here’s why:

• The Internet has enhanced communication speed and accessibility which has fundamentally changed client service expectations and the response times in the market

• The vast amount of electronic information available has made search and retrieval a vastly different affair to that of twenty years ago, when a trip to the law library and a long afternoon was required to get oven an overview of the latest law in an area

• Collaboration software is allowing the process of working with internal stakeholders and external parties to become more efficient (not least by reducing the number of times documents are passed backwards and forwards)

• The sharing of information between law firm clients has become far more widespread (intensified by social media) so that emerging client buying patterns such as the rejection of hourly billing become more adopted more quickly

• Technology supports the standardisation of work – with more and more firms focussing on efficiency and improving process, tools like workflow software can support and enhance changes to the way lawyers work

• The automation of low complexity work, most visible in the consumer space (think automated wills online), is also beginning to see wider adoption in the B2B space as more complex work gets disaggregated and the low complexity components get packaged up and automated (standard due diligence report anyone?)

This is an edited version of a post that first appeared on Intelligent Challenge. Mark Smith is Director of In-house Legal Markets.

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