The digital transformation coursing through the legal profession is leaving a mark on almost all practices. The few who insist on rejecting technology look to be consumed by those who use it to its fullest potential but there is no question.
Technology is altering the work of lawyers to the extent that most bar associations now mandate attorneys to complete technological CLE programs. If leveraging legal tech is a challenge for you, here is a selection of tips for new lawyers and the not so new, on how new software is changing the industry.
Updating Archaic Processes
If you still navigate through a physical legal library to perform case research, you are way behind. The savviest lawyers of today should be using a digital law database as the foundation of their technology strategy. This should be complemented by a host of integrated solutions that eliminate slow and costly practices.
Legal technology is scouring every bottleneck and automated process to streamline lawyer performance. Contract analysis, proofreading, due diligence and research are being amplified to reduce human capital inefficiency. For small firms, every saved hour is an opportunity to grow and take on new clients.
The systematic augmentation of legal work with tech also improves profits from two angles. Firstly, the cost of inefficient, typically non-billable overhead hours is decreasing. Repetitive tasks are put in the hands of artificial intelligence, and machine learning is accelerating analysis and research. These gains are giving lawyers more hours to use for billable work. When billable hours become available, lawyers can serve more people and generate more income-earning opportunities.
Collaboration And Client Reach Is Growing
The unfortunate consequences of the Covid-19 have provided the legal industry with a silver lining. The widespread acceptance of video conferencing has eliminated location as a barrier to service provision. This means that rather than selecting representation based on who operates near them, clients can choose solely on who is the best for the job.
The opportunity presented also extends to co-counseling on cases. Previously traveling to partnering firms could be unfeasible to many lawyers but now they don`t have to reject work due to travel restrictions.
On the flip side, UPL considerations are on the increase. Many firms are receiving inquiries from all over the nation based on what their Internet searches return. The problem is that jurisdictional qualifications forbid lawyers from practicing in any state other than the one in which they passed the bar.
Augmenting Lawyer Capabilities
Having a digital law database and leveraging the best of technology is not only streamlining performance but is also drastically improving it. Human error is responsible for most mistakes and oversights but this doesn’t happen with the best software. Due diligence and contract analysis software are picking up inaccuracies at far greater rates than the human eye.
In a LawGeex study, AI outperformed lawyers 94% to 85% at identifying NDA risks. Only 1 of 20 lawyers challenged managed to achieve the same standards as the software tested. In simple terms, innovative technologies don’t get tired, bored, or sloppy when researching and analyzing.
Bettering Work-Life Balance
One of the best tips for new lawyers is to protect your mental health and work-life balance. The legal industry has been guilty of expecting extraordinarily long hours with heightened stress levels. The consequence is usually felt by declining personal relationships and mental health.
Thankfully, legal tech and software solutions make working from anywhere a viable option. Lawyers are still able to operate from their own homes without excessive time lost to commutes or work trips. The increasing cybersecurity and cloud accessibility mean that lawyers don’t have to miss important family occasions.
One day long into the future, it is possible that the legal system will operate on an entirely automated basis. However, for now, lawyers need to move with the times. The previous norm of resisting change is fading quickly into memory. To keep up and compete, modern lawyers need to identify where their firms are losing their edge and apply the best technological solution available.
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