The COVID-19 pandemic clearly brought the emergence and importance of technology into our lives. Undoubtedly, a wide spectrum of industries has been impacted by the introduction of technology and its varied innovations, while several business models have been re-evaluated and restructured to accommodate the use of technology in its day-to-day activities.
The legal industry is one of such industries where the introduction of technology has significantly impacted its modus operandi. Indeed, there are other invaluable ways of settling disputes among parties. Additionally, tons of several tasks have been replaced by the introduction of machine intelligence and efficient software that completes tasks in real-time and with astonishing accuracy.
Indeed, it can be inferred from the above that the importance of technology in legal practice cannot be overemphasized. A survey carried out in March 2020 revealed that, out of over 490 law firms that were studied, 84% of such firms stated that the use of ‘Legal-tech’ increased the efficiency of their firms, while 77% stated that legal-tech was being increasingly used in their firms.
Therefore, the impact of Legal-tech in the legal profession is innumerable. For context, we shall look at some of the impacts of technology in legal practice.
First, virtual hearings have become commonplace. Towards the end of 2020, a jury in Florida conducted a virtual trial via Zoom, where they awarded the plaintiff $411 million, unarguably the largest compensatory rewards yet. This has shown that virtual proceedings do not affect the jury’s ability to interpret the evidence before them and make the correct decisions.
Additionally, technology enhances research on witnesses. The use of technology in conducting background checks and safeguarding vital information is highly welcome in the industry. There are softwares, such as Expert IQ, that enables the counsel to access information on expert witnesses, including granting access to real-time updates as the trial progresses and storing information necessary to the trial. Thus, ease of information is ensured with software such as Expert IQ.
Furthermore, the use of technology in creating computer simulations of events can significantly determine the scope and severity of scenarios. This comes as no surprise, as computer-generated evidence is increasingly used in modern courtrooms. This is because it is cost-efficient and saves crucial time that is usually invested in expert witnesses.
Finally, sharing important documents in the legal profession is another day in the ordinary cause of business. However, the means by which these files are shared are not always secure, for instance, via emails. Therefore, there is a need for more secure ways of sharing files.
And technology has answered the clarion call.
With software options such as Dropbox, Citrix Sharefile, and even IBM Aspera, technology solves the problem of hacked emails and leaked vital information.
In conclusion, the pandemic’s major surge of virtual offices and working remotely has paved the way for unique innovations and easier ways of conducting tasks and business. The legal industry has not been left out of this change.
A blessing in disguise, one must say.