Seven Ways Technology is Important for Paralegals

Last Updated at: Oct 22, 2019
Seven Ways Technology is Important for Paralegals

Positive impact of technology on paralegals:

The paralegals or legal assistants have emerged as one of the most vital part of the legal industry. Paralegals perform legally substantive works like maintaining and organizing files, drafting documents and conducting legal research. They can also be called as lawyers who cannot practice. The recent evolution technology in each field  has had both negative and positive impact on paralegals too, just like any other profession. However, there seems to be a dominating positive outcome as the majority of professionals who choose this field are young students who are prone to using technology everywhere. Some aspects where technology has become very important in a paralegal’s career are:

  • Data research, collection and analysis:

One of the fundamental job description for a paralegal is to assist the senior lawyers in finding case related data and analyzing them. It was a very tiresome job for the paralegals back in the days where books were used as a means of research. They had to filter the necessary piece of material out of vast reading of many sources, which consumed a lot of time. With the introduction of the internet, the research and analysis of data could be done more precisely in a shorter span of time. It also proved to be useful by providing a wide range of materials to research on, unlike in case of books which only covers a specific area of research.

  • Cost and efficiency:

No two cases have the same problem, so the lawyers need to have a wide knowledge of  variety of cases. This is easily achieved in the digital age with the help of legal databases, all stored in one single place with free access. They are cost efficient and save time for both the client as well as the paralegals. The clients have begun to question their lawyers due to the availability of many choices and the involvement of technology for legal assessment. So, the clients are not ready to pay for more hours of work but for better results. This puts the paralegals and the advocates in jeopardy, which on the other hand can be easily solved by technology.

  • Digital case management:

In the time of no technology in courts, the documents and proofs related to the case were to be submitted to the court and then preserved until the trial is over. Handling these documents safely was a miracle of a job. Now, the officials have to maintain digitized documents for the case, which requires them to have a good knowledge of scanning and archiving important materials.

  • Online monetary transactions:

With the introduction of online payment portals, the collection of fees and payment invoices has become easier for the paralegals. Many law firms have also introduced what is called the E-Billing or Electronic billing, that generate digital invoices and accepts electronic payments of all kinds as opposed to the traditional methods of collecting paper invoices.

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  • Secure data sharing:

Artificial intelligence and cyber security has encrypted the legal data stored in servers, making it more secure from being breached and misused. Such techniques of data protection prevents data leaks and potential malpractice. When such data are shared between two individuals, it does not get lost easily. In large Corporates, this involve more number of employees and tasks like filing trademarks, track stock holdings or budgets, organize client relations, estimate counsel fees, etc. that requires technology to have accurate and orderly results.

  • Online marketing:

In a time when there were no means to find and influence potential clients, firms functioned only in a limited scope. As the online media companies emerged, it made the legal advertisements to reach worldwide, resulting in firms getting global attention. Apart from advertising, mobiles and internet access has made it easier for lawyers to handle cases through video calls and gain testimonies via e-mail in the form of digital documents.

  • Courtroom E-filing:

The impact of technology has spread even to the courtrooms. The most tedious process of handling a case is filing. This has been made easier for the paralegals now, as it has been digitized. The officials can electronically file the cases and also view the status of the petition through digital monitors throughout the courtroom, making it efficient and time saving.

There are significant changes taking place in the legal industry recently. Technology has completely changed the way lawyers think, how the courtroom functions, how the judges, attorneys and firms work all together. The above points are some specific technology developments that would impact a paralegal’s life on a daily basis. Every paralegal can easily survive in the market today, by upgrading oneself with the current trends and technologies.