Impact of Technology for Legal Professionals in 2017
Technology touches every aspect of life in our modern age. We depend on technology to keep us safe, to communicate with others and to help us stay healthy. It should come as no surprise that modern technology plays a large role in how we practice, understand and follow the law.
With the ever-increasing pace of technological advancements in the Digital Age, it can be easy for legal professionals to be overwhelmed or fall behind. Even IT professionals cannot be expected to stay on top of all of the latest trends and developments, so anyone outside of technology industries can only try to keep up. But now every industry is heavily influenced by the fast-paced changes to technology, and legal practice is no different.
Although almost all modern attorneys have some level of web presence and technological understanding, it has become necessary for legal professionals to become much more familiar with digital processes, programs and applications than ever before. While terms like e-discovery and automation were not part of any attorney’s vocabulary 20 years ago, these and other such processes are now the standard in the legal world.
From the practice of law in the courtroom to legislative changes in the digital world, law technology influences every aspect of a modern attorney’s practice, business and life. Here are just a few areas of technological impact of which every legal professional should be aware in 2017 and going forward.
For various reasons, the legal world has been reluctant to automate many important processes. However, that is beginning to change as programs and applications for streamlining legal workflow and document management have proven themselves to be efficient and accurate. Legal secretaries, paralegals and other professionals have been forced to adapt, as these processes have taken much of the work for which they were once responsible.
Modern technology has changed every aspect of how people communicate and interact with one another. This impact has spilled over into the legal world, resulting in video conferencing in the court, social media legislation, discoverable text messages and many other significant changes. It has also altered the way clients and attorneys reach out and stay in touch with each other.
“Our clients connect with us through a wide variety of platforms,” says Jimmy Doan of the Doan Law firm national personal injury law firm. “Text messages, email, chat, Skype, Facetime and many social media outlets are just a few of the ways we communicate, depending on the specific needs and requests of each client.”
Research and Education
Legal libraries are not completely a thing of the past, but that could soon become the case. Westlaw, LexisNexis and similar sources have changed the way that legal professionals find and consume information. Lawyers can use these and other legal databases to perform research, track data and verify case law in a matter of seconds.
For current legal students, these types of legal databases are the standard for finding information, and they will continue to grow with a new generation of legal professionals.