Why should lawyers leverage technology?

Last Updated at: Nov 04, 2019
Why should lawyers leverage technology

When we speak of the relationship between technology and law or the apter “lawyers technology“, like any other profession, there are always concerns about how it would lead to unemployment. There is no denying that technology both eliminates jobs and creates jobs. However, the debate has often been skewed towards the job-destroying effects of technological change, which are more easily observed than its creative aspects. Cars replaced horse-drawn carriages and hand-weavers were swept aside by mechanical looms.  Does this mean that we go back to the time of early man centuries ago when each person was gainfully “employed” in hunting, gathering, and cooking of food? Well, we know the answer.

Two hundred years of breathtaking innovation since the dawn of the industrial age have produced rising living standards for ordinary people in the world, including India. Back then, as jobs were lost in agriculture, new jobs were created in producing machines and leading to a rise in service sector industries like the legal profession. The rise in Intellectual Property practice can only be attributed to technology, innovation, and discoveries that required protection by way of patents, trademarks etc.

From the point of view of law students, the ability to access diverse sources of law, spread across multiple continents, with great ease of access through their mobile phones has made life so much simpler. Even within the Indian jurisdiction, a host of websites contribute towards making cases, precedents, and statutes available beyond the normal working hours of a physical library.

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The gain that technology offers seems to be compounded for practicing professionals, litigators, advocates, and corporate professionals. Below, we examine some of the tools that drastically reduce the time required for legal research, the number of support staff required while also enhancing intra-firm cooperation. It is also a good idea to weigh your specific needs against the services offered by an automated application and then consider whether it is likely to enhance the overall efficiency, turnaround time and quality of work. Below are some trends where lawyers and technology go hand in hand

  1. Voice to text converter tools obviating the need for stenographers: Traditionally, stenographers train to sit for long hours and take notes in their diaries and later type out the content along with formatting. However, using voice recognition for this purpose can help save many hours every day. Instead of waiting for the stenographer to turn up, we can easily start making our own legal documents. Since this tool is available 24/7 there is access available all the time, reducing the total turnaround time required for finishing a document.
  2. Virtual databases for central access: This is typically beneficial for firms with multiple offices. Working across offices becomes more systematic as all content related to a case can be uploaded together, making data more integrated. Everyone can track ideas, store legal research and share information with ease with access to a central server or cloud.
  3. Real-time updated case-listing on your phone: Some applications make tracking of matters allotted to you easily by collating data on listing across various courts, giving you the access to cases on your phone, all at one place.
  4. Case management applications: As a law firm requires coordination across a team of professionals like solicitors, advocates, legal researchers, a case management app with viewing rights to everyone makes work easier by making sure all changes to case documents are saved real-time. It also helps track working hours to ensure billing to the client is accurate.
Avani Mishra is a graduate in law from the National Law Institute University, Bhopal. She qualified the Company Secretary course with an All India Rank 1 and is a recipient of the President’s Gold Medal for her academic distinctions. She also holds a B.Com degree with a specialization in Corporate Affairs and Administration.