Legal tech includes software and other tools that help attorneys and their support staff to provide legal services to clients. Many new applications empower reputable firms to improve their efficiency and adapt to mobile working environments. Here’s how legal tech companies are re-shaping the legal world.
Legal tech also gives small firms and individual practitioners a chance to compete with larger competitors. It grants them access to powerful research tools. And, the right tech tools are essential for law firms that want to stay competitive.
Understanding and embracing these innovations in technology can be the key to success in today’s legal profession.
What are Companies Considered Legal Tech Companies?
While there are many legal tech companies in the world, what we are looking for is to be provided with technology that genuinely stands out in a crowded market. For instance, Relativity gives specific technology to lawyers.
With the Relativity tech, lawyers can store and search for documents, automate contract reviews, and perform other regulatory work and due diligence.
Major U.S. law firms use the service. Some large firms and in-house corporate legal departments have hired experts from Relativity to help them set up eDiscovery departments.
Other essential legal tech companies are Apttus, Everlaw, HighQ, and iManage. These companies produce software that simplifies the way companies manage their sales processes and contracts, collaborate on litigation, and handle important documents.
The legal technology allows lawyers to focus on their cases and reduce their time in document review and management.
How Have These Developments Affected the Legal Profession?
Technology has caused a revolution in the legal profession that has reshaped its culture, composition, delivery, skill sets, and priorities. These developments have not only bolstered departments within law firms but have also improved their reputations.
Firms go global
Firms are now able to operate globally, collaborate with other lawyers, and improve service delivery. They are no longer stuck in the limited geographic markets established long ago by significant law firms. Now lawyers can provide services to clients on a more global scale, which benefits clients who conduct business internationally.
The expansion of law firms into global markets has also made legal services somewhat more uniform. Furthermore, clients can now review their lawyers online, forcing attorneys to perform at a consistently high level.
Customer satisfaction and AI move to the front.
Additionally, this new technology has given lawyers and law firms new service models that are customer-centric and that meld human resources with tech to optimize performance. In these new models, profit flows from customer satisfaction rather than hours billed.
Lawyers are no longer tasked with brute force labor. They can rely on automation to maximize their resources. Technology has replaced the repetitive tasks of a lawyer’s work with new software. This can make lawyers more efficient and save both clients and firms money.
The arrival of technology in the legal world is transforming the profession from a pedigree-centric, tradition-bound, labor-intensive field into something entirely different.
Tech has made legal services more flexible and given lawyers access to effective automation. With new delivery models and methods, practices are shrinking while clientele is expanding.
The result is the promotion of efficiency, risk prediction, enhanced value, and cost reduction. With this expansion comes the availability of legal services to everyone.
Furthermore, technology makes both primary and secondary legal source materials easier to access. For example, Harvard Law School decided to digitize their collection of 40 million pages of case law and give everyone free online access to them.
Moreover, the use of legal tech and software can automate many parts of a lawyer’s job. Many legal tech tools have begun incorporating artificial intelligence, cloud computing, legal research and automation.
The rise in automation has caused some lawyers to fear it’s only a matter of time before tech disrupts the delivery of legal services. Despite this worry, thus far, legal technology has not taken jobs from human attorneys. Instead, it has improved the work for those who are willing to accept it.
What Is a Legal Tech Incubator?
A general tech incubator involves a larger business providing support and mentorship to small start-up tech companies. Legal tech incubators include well-established law firms creating space for the rapidly increasing number of start-ups providing legal tech.
For instance, global law firms such as Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, and Mischon de Reya have each created incubator programs for up and coming legal tech companies. These incubators help member businesses grow and succeed.
However, that success requires more than just space and positive intentions. Successful incubators must focus on solving issues commonly faced by law firms.
Focusing on the issues is often accomplished by providing human resources and mentorship. In these programs, the host company regularly teaches smaller companies to face their problems. The teaching, training, and mentorship are accomplished through meticulous planning, organization skills, a technical focus, and consideration of consumer opinions.
What Are Some Legal Tech Start-Ups?
In addition to the established legal tech companies, there are many start-ups as well. Legal start-ups rose in popularity in recent years. Some examples include Luminance, Libryo, Lexoo, CrowdJustice, Alacrity, and Advokatguiden.
- Luminance is a relatively new company that provides artificial intelligence for the legal profession.
- Libryo offers software that helps individuals in any organization to understand applicable legal obligations.
- Lexoo is an online platform that gives individuals access to international lawyers and is also used by companies to compare and recruit lawyers for their in-house legal departments.
- CrowdJustice is a crowdfunding platform for public interest litigation.
- Alacrity is a web-based platform that lets major corporations and law firms connect and improve their service delivery.
- Advokatguiden is a Norwegian website that publishes client reviews of lawyers and firms. Advokatguiden.no has forced transparency onto the legal profession and gives individuals insight into a lawyer’s pricing, skills, and track record.
Embracing Legal Tech
The rising popularity of legal tech has contributed to the globalization of legal practice. The implementation of legal tech has also created new delivery models that focus on efficiency and the customer.
Legal tech opened these services to a broader client base and led to the adoption of automation.
While some are concerned about this new technology, other firms are embracing it. Legal tech incubators now help startups provide new legal technology to the profession.
Image Credit: ATC Comm Photo; Pexels
CEO, Boitnott Consulting LLC
A journalist and digital consultant, John Boitnott has worked at TV, print, radio and Internet companies for 25 years. He's an advisor at StartupGrind and has written for BusinessInsider, Fortune, NBC, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur and Venturebeat. You can see his latest work on his blog, jboitnott.com