What’s Trending in Legal Technology

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With the first quarter of 2019 nearly behind us, there are a few notable #legaltech trends we are keeping an eye on. Law firms both big and small have increasingly embraced cloud-based technology and the trend shows no signs of slowing. Firms particularly appreciate that their lawyers can secure access to important documents and make revisions from mobile devices.

In addition, moving to the cloud helps legal businesses decrease their overhead costs while bolstering service to their various clients. Concerns over data security can also be abated through cloud usage, as it is now a “very viable and affordable way” to  improve security, according to an article providing an overview of tips garnered from the recent ABA tech show.

The growing transition to the cloud and mobile in the legal industry has coincided with an uptick in the number of virtual law firms worldwide. Fully virtual firms make it easy for attorneys on different coasts, or in different countries, to seamlessly team up on major cases and projects. This not only should help attorneys create a better work-life balance, but also allows firms to trim costs further. In turn, this provides virtual firms the option of cutting their fees, a potential competitive advantage in the marketplace

Clients of course, appreciate any time fees are lowered, and the shift to the cloud also has accelerated firm efforts to give the businesses and individuals they represent more frequent access to the work product they generate. Some firms are using the cloud to offer clients 24/7 access to key documents and case information, with these access avenues sometimes referred to as “client portals.” Cloud-based communication, such as automated client updates and virtual assistants, are another way that lawyers are using cloud software to improve the way that they practice.

As a lawyer’s responsibility to become technically competent becomes more and more critical, technology trends are likely to focus on the following areas of competence, the areas deemed to be most important in a recent New York Law Journal article:

  • Data security;
  • Technology used to run a law firm and practice law; 
  • Social media competence;
  • Technology used by clients to build products or offer services that lawyers have to defend;
  • Electronic discovery;
  • Technology used to present information in court

While all of the areas above are important, Lexblog’s Kevin O’Keefe, encouraging lawyers to stay on social media, and in particular, Facebook in a recent Above the Law article, saying, “More people spend more time on the Internet on Facebook than any other place. Social media, Facebook included, represents the town square, the coffee shop, the church group, and the civic board of today. It’s where lawyers establish enough trust and value in people’s minds that legal services, at least though a lawyer, remain a viable answer for consumers and small business people.”

What trends are you seeing in the legal world? Are there apps or programs that are helping you in your practice? We will continue to do tech roundups and talk about what the tech trends are in this profession throughout the year, so let us know if there is something you use that would be of use to others!

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