Table of Content
- 1. Paperwork is eliminated, but there is a risk to data security
- 2. It simplifies communication but gives rise to misinformation tactics
- 3. It is up to users to utilize technology adversely or favorably
- 4. Helps Lawyers maintain an improved work-life balance
- 5. Technology also has the potential to inhibit legal cases
- 6. Technology to fill the gap between service supply and demand
- 7. Agile legal software allows clients to view their case status
- 8. The relevance of digital tools might cause conflicts with clients
- 9. Providing data access to several employees may not be safe
- 10. The greater the level of digital access, the greater the possibility of error
- 11. Relying too heavily on the search engine might cause unfairness
- 12. Attorney and client should factor in safety before any tool adoption
- 13. Technology implementations should rigorously adhere to the cybersecurity standard
- 14. The Speed-to-answer culture using technology can cause problems
- 15. Conclusion
Technology has had a significant impact on the legal industry. It has the potential to be both a blessing and a curse.
On one hand, technology can greatly enhance efficiency and productivity in the legal field. Automation and data analysis tools can streamline legal research, document management, and case management, allowing lawyers to work more quickly and effectively. Additionally, online legal services and self-help resources can make legal services more accessible and affordable to the general public.
On the other hand, technology can also pose challenges to the legal industry. There is a concern that automation and artificial intelligence will replace human lawyers and paralegals, leading to job losses. Furthermore, the increasing use of technology in the legal field also raises concerns about data privacy and security and the potential for cyber-attacks on law firms.
Overall, technology has the potential to bring many benefits to the legal industry, but it is important to consider the potential downsides and implement measures to mitigate them. Let’s delve further and understand in detail how technology can be both a blessing and a curse.
Paperwork is eliminated, but there is a risk to data security
"Technology can be incredibly beneficial within a law firm, especially for automating some of the more repetitive tasks. However, there are downsides, which is why I am always wary of the over-usage of technology within the legal world.
The main benefits technology provides, are the following:
Automates data and optimizes the storage of information. Instead of having files upon files of papers and certificates, you can have most documents stored online. It also makes it easier for sending them back and forth with the clients, especially considering you can sign many things with a digital signature nowadays. Opens up better communication with the clients. Not only through emails, but through video conferencing and more.
However, some of the main concerns that make technology a double-edged sword, are the following:
Confidentiality. This is the biggest concern. As lawyers, we are constantly handling extremely sensitive data and information, that has to be kept confidential at all costs. By handling this data and information online, through technology, there is always a risk of that data protection being breached in some way. A loss of the essential personal touch that comes with dealing with clients. Legal matters are important, and often very sensitive. I like to prioritize in-person meetings with the clients so that there is a more familiar treatment and a more personal touch. This can be easily lost when everything is done through the use of technology."
It simplifies communication but gives rise to misinformation tactics
"Technology can certainly be a double-edged sword for the legal process. Of course, there are undeniable advantages to technology mainly in its utility and practicality. Legal cases are much more likely to be resolved with speed and efficiency, as well as accuracy, with the advent of digital file organization. Other functions of technology such as communication are extremely helpful to the legal industry, such as emails, video conferencing, and the digitization of files.
On the other hand, though, the culture that technology can often encourage could potentially affect the democratic process itself. Consider the level of misinformation tactics used by different organizations, from something as small as click-baiting, and ghostwriting, and how general information can be affected by the presence of algorithms, to more malicious tactics such as hacking and deep fakes.
Moreover, general internet culture, which sprouted from physical technology, can lead to cases becoming skewed. Look at Depp v Heard for instance, the public court of opinion was generally found on social media platforms through memes thanks to the case being televised, which undoubtedly affected the public reception of the case and potentially the democratic process itself."
It is up to users to utilize technology adversely or favorably
"By definition, technology is the instruments we create, whether it be a wheel, a book, a sculpted rock, or nuclear power. We can use the written word to transmit knowledge or false information, hope or hate, just as we can use the flint ax to hunt and prepare valuable food or to cave in our companion's head. We can create easily accessible clean energy or level cities using our understanding of nuclear physics. All of our tools should be utilized wisely and with understanding, including knowing when to never use them. Using the Internet has made it easier to access information as well. A single click can access a variety of resources, including books, magazines, audio files, and movies. All advantages, like everything else in life, also have disadvantages. Therefore, it is up to users to decide whether to let the Internet improve or ruin their lives. The Internet is undoubtedly here to stay. Despite having two edges, it is a sword that we must have to advance into the future.
Many solicitors are merging at least some brand-new technology into their practice. If they do it the right way, it could be a great tool. Although, there are several pitfalls that you need to look out for a while integrating technology. To sum it all up, when you’re going to utilize technology in your legal practice, know what you’re doing. You have to ask the questions which need to be asked and ensure you understand the answers. Talk about your use of technology with your clients to make sure they are comfortable with how you’re tackling their confidential details. If used adequately, technology can help clients.
Helps Lawyers maintain an improved work-life balance
"Using the latest technologies in the legal sector can help in boosting profitability, extend market research, and identify job threats. As a result, employees in the legal sectors can leverage the consistency in capital costs and secure their valuable information with protection from cyber-attacks. Also, technologies will help them maintain an improved work-life balance. However, technologies can increase challenges in the legal sector as there will be a higher rate of lawyer competency, talent retention in law firms, and remaining at the top position of compliance. Therefore, experts carefully advise choosing the most appropriate technologies for the legal sector."
Technology also has the potential to inhibit legal cases
"Advancing technology is amazing for the legal industry. There is now a huge amount of online security, which protects client data and ensures their safety while they are going through difficult legal situations.
However, it can also inhibit some legal cases because it is so easy for information to be shared on social media which will ruin the impartiality of cases for a potential jury, for example."
Technology to fill the gap between service supply and demand
"The legal industry simply does not have the capacity to fulfill all the needs of our society. Technology is supposed to make it easier for attorneys to scale their services to service more clients. Online legal resources, templates, and e-discovery have significantly changed the legal industry, making it faster and easier to accomplish various legal tasks.
Another aspect that we might have not noticed is that recent developments in technology have actually fueled the market demand for legal services. The easier it is to carry out economic activities through various productivity-enhanced tools, the more legal issues arise, from contractual arrangements to compliance to dispute resolutions. Increased efficiency in the legal industry alone will not be sufficient to fill the gap between supply and demand - a gap that explains the increased revenue of law firms year after year even during the pandemic.
Technology is destined to address this mismatch of market demand and supply through the only way it knows by fundamentally changing the way supply meets demand. Increased demand for legal services cannot be met through incremental changes in the efficiency of individual attorneys, but via a change in how demand behaves and how services are delivered. After all, the demand for legal services actually derives from the way we communicate and social interaction. Contracts are essentially a large collection of definitions and if..then statements and dispute resolutions are fact discoveries and legal applications. The solution has to be the real innovation with respect to how such communications can be structured in ways other than customized contracts and motions, the equivalent of an open source system with a pre-defined workflow."
Agile legal software allows clients to view their case status
"The Legal industry has long been criticized for being slow to adopt or adapt to technology. This is particularly true with respect to “Agile” project management software, which is becoming increasingly common in the legal industry. Agile software allows law firms to easily keep track of case information, deadlines, and billings. It also allows clients to view their case status and makes communication between all parties much more efficient.
While most lawyers recognize the benefits of Agile software, many are reluctant to implement it due to the steep learning curve and high costs involved. However, companies that have implemented Agile software report that these concerns are unfounded, as these platforms are very intuitive and user-friendly. With more lawyers using Agile platforms on a regular basis, the legal industry is likely to adopt this technology more quickly.
The relevance of digital tools might cause conflicts with clients
Legal technology has revolutionized the way in which legal professionals handle their work. On one hand, it has made the process of filing documents and conducting research more efficient and less time-consuming. On the other hand, however, it can also lead to increased paper consumption and a decrease in productivity due to decreased concentration levels. As lawyers become increasingly reliant on digital tools for their work, they are also subject to becoming dependent on those same tools for communication as well. This can create conflicts between clients and attorneys when there is a difference of opinion about how best to proceed with a case or document. In addition, the rampant use of social media often distracts law practitioners from maintaining professionalism while representing themselves or their client(s). It's important for lawyers not only to understand the benefits that technology offers but also its limitations so that they may make informed decisions about how best to utilize these resources within their profession.
Providing data access to several employees may not be safe
The legal industry witnessed deeper technology usage during the outbreak of the pandemic. Everything from case filing to hearing was happening online. While it made legal assistance 24*7 available, it gave birth to many unimagined hassles. For instance, the data is at risk when too many entries point to an organizational database. It's not safe to have tons of employees accessing data at one time. It's true that witness accessibility has improved with the help of video conferencing. But, it has reduced the authenticity of the witnesses. It's hard to lie on the face and easy to lie on the screen.
The greater the level of digital access, the greater the possibility of error
Many attorneys use email for their practices, and it can be a very useful tool. Other forms of contact should not be replaced with it, however, in most cases.
The attorney-client relationship must be maintained through constant communication. It's still important to answer the phone and attend meetings in person. My experience has been that the best way to communicate with a client is to ask them how they prefer to be contacted. My approach to communication will be based on that answer, but I will emphasize the importance of communicating in multiple ways. My schedule may prevent me from returning a phone call immediately when I am in court all day. Rather than responding to their message, I might send them a quick email letting them know I received their message.
It is certainly possible to benefit your practice by sending an email, but you should think twice before you do so and make sure that it is not something you should discuss in person or over the phone. As a side note, email communications may not maintain confidentiality. Most of our clients use free email servers that do not protect the confidentiality of their emails and will release them if subpoenaed. In order to determine if email is a safe means of communicating with your clients, you should have a conversation with them.
However, security and cyber risks are some of the consequences of technology in legal industry. The global economy loses $6.1 trillion a year due to cybercrime, which is committed every 11 seconds. Data capture is the main objective, and law firms are a particularly attractive source. The traditional method of storing and exchanging files was physical paper, which is much harder to corrupt. All of that has changed, however, due to the influx of technology.
Digital tools are being introduced by law firms to facilitate file sharing, accessibility, and correspondence between lawyers and clients. A greater number of digital access avenues means a greater chance of mistakes, oversights, and hacks happening. In a world where cyber insurance costs are soaring, cybersecurity is a non-negotiable issue for the legal industry.
Relying too heavily on the search engine might cause unfairness
The legal industry is one of the most traditional and conservative industries in the world. For centuries, the law has been synonymous with human interaction, with lawyers spending their days meeting with clients, researching cases, and preparing for court. However, in recent years, technology has begun to change the way the legal industry operates. From online research tools to document management systems, technology has made it possible for lawyers to work more efficiently and effectively. While this is certainly a positive development, there is also a downside to the increased reliance on technology. One of the biggest concerns is that technology can never fully replace human interaction. In a field where personal relationships are often key to success; this could be a major drawback. Additionally, as more and more legal work is automated, there is a risk that some lawyers could become obsolete.
Legal professionals are accustomed to using technology to their advantage. In the courtroom, computers and other digital devices give them instant access to an incredible amount of information. However, technology can also be a double-edged sword. The vastness of the internet can make it difficult to find the needle in the haystack, and they may inadvertently introduce bias into their research by relying too heavily on search engines. In addition, online resources can sometimes lead them astray, leading them down rabbit holes that are unproductive and time-consuming.
While new technologies can help lawyers to be more efficient and productive, they can also create new risks and liabilities. For example, the use of artificial intelligence in legal research can help lawyers to save time and find relevant information more easily. However, there is also the potential for AI to introduce errors in legal research, which could lead to costly mistakes. Similarly, the use of online tools such as e-discovery can help lawyers speed up the discovery process. However, there is also the risk that sensitive information could be leaked or accessed by unauthorized individuals. As a result, it is clear that technology can both help and harm the legal industry. While it is important to embrace new technologies, it is also important to be aware of the risks involved."
Attorney and client should factor in safety before any tool adoption
Cloud computing encourages mobility. In the legal industry, mobility is when lawyers can access templates, legal documents, and information within seconds or minutes in the courtroom or while working remotely. This drags them away from stress, improving their productivity. The sad part is that the confidentiality of the legal firm’s clients can be compromised if the cloud service provider cannot withstand cybersecurity threats and attacks. Email is becoming a popular method of communication in the legal industry. Most attorneys use it to relay information that cannot be discussed in person or over the phone. Although email communication does a lot for their practices, it does not guarantee confidentiality to clients using free email servers. For this reason, an attorney and client should factor in safety before adopting any form of contact.
Technology implementations should rigorously adhere to the cybersecurity standard
"The advantages: New technologies disrupt the industry.
New technologies can prove to be instrumental in revamping the functionality of the legal industry. Among these, cloud migration is probably the most impactful of all. Thanks to the extremely large amounts of paperwork that the legal industry generates, a shift to the cloud is just the answer to most data storage challenges in the industry. In addition to providing centralized storage for governmental organizations, migrating to the cloud also helps ease the exchange of information and updates of new precedents and rulings.
The risks: Any security lapses can result in serious consequences
The resistance that the legal industry has shown towards adopting new technologies has not been without reason, and the risks associated with cybersecurity have proven to be a primary one. Considering the extremely confidential nature of every nuance related to the legal industry, as well as the risk any leaks may pose not just to cases but also to the entire judicial system, cybersecurity is a grave concern indeed. So, any tech improvements that the legal industry adopts or implements are strictly based on the cybersecurity protocol they guarantee."
The Speed-to-answer culture using technology can cause problems
Every lawyer has had an experience where a client or prospective client has emailed them and then followed up 10 minutes later with a “why haven’t you responded yet?” message. Or the lawyer has sent a client an email and the client, feeling an unseen pressure, immediately responds. And that reactionary speed has caused them to put wrong information to their case. Technology, while a great tool and something that has bridged gaps and opened opportunities also has a drawback. People want information and answers now! In the legal profession, where diligence takes time, this speed-to-answer culture is a trap. Sometimes the fastest way to a lost case is by answering an email for speed, not thought.
The increased use of technology has tremendously improved the business efficiency and accuracy of legal practitioners. It has the potential to be both a blessing and a burden. On one hand, it automates tasks to expedite legal procedures; on the other hand, it raises security problems and cyber-attack worries for the client case. In this article, we discussed in depth how technology continues to be both a blessing and a scourge for the legal profession.