5 Technology Trends Lawyers Need to Know

The pace of technology is having a substantial impact on professional industries.  New technology can disrupt the status quo by creating new business opportunities or changing the way work is completed.

Here are 5 current technology trends in 2017 that those in the legal professional should be aware of:

  1. Artificial Intelligence

Remember HAL 9000 and Iron Man’s J.A.R.V.I.S.?  What used to be entertaining science fiction is becoming a practical reality with services like Siri and Alexa.  Now imagine Siri was a lawyer.  Companies like ROSS have created an interactive virtual lawyer that can help answer questions and perform research.  Typing or special commands are not required as they will respond to regular, natural language questions.

  1. Dashboards & Analytics

One of the biggest challenges in any business is understanding performance metrics and trends for individuals, teams and entire firms.  Most practice management software will gather and track a variety of important data, however the challenges have been around effectively presenting that information in real-time so that trends can be identified and acted upon quickly.  Web and Mobile App based tools can interact with the traditional legal software to create powerful and dynamic dashboards.

  1. Automation

Many of the more labourious tasks and processes will soon be replaced by tools that are able to automate much of the effort.  This is occurring in three prominent areas: workflow management, document assembly, and discovery.  There are particularly powerful tools to support eDiscovery in Microsoft’s Exchange and SharePoint platforms.  This will result in a reduction in the number of legal sector positions in favour of more efficient and cost effective software solutions.

  1. Social Media & Branding

It’s not all cat pictures and updates on what people had for lunch.  Social media is a powerful tool for building your business – both for the firm as well as individual’s area of practice.  A strong social media strategy can change the way a firm is perceived, increasing the reputation and driving new business opportunities.  This is also being used by individual lawyers to boost their personal brands as subject matter experts among colleagues and even with the public.

  1. Blockchain

This term has not entirely made its way into most people’s lexicons yet, but it’s the technology at the heart of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies.  Blockchain technology creates a secure, decentralized public record of ownership.  This can go beyond currency and can be used to track ownership of property (i.e land, or IP).  It can also be used to secure online identities and may become the foundation for secure online voting.  As this technology becomes more prominent there will be substantial legal implications.

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