By Hayk Saakian
Technology is becoming a large part of everyday litigation and lawyering. Here are some of new technologies helping law firms work smarter.
- Practice Management Software
SaaS (Software as a Service) providers have branched into the legal realm, by providing full-package practice management software.
These software packages come with secure client email and communication features, case management, and time tracking. Best of all, they have ethically sound credit card processing.
Using these types of tools opens the doors for VLO, or virtual law office, expansion. The notion of a virtual law office seemed like a sci-fi dream a decade ago, but with new ethical rules and an ever-expanding mobile world, virtual practice is becoming more mainstream.
Larger and mid-sized firms are offering VLO services to provide quick and low-cost legal services. Practice management software allows smaller firms to offer the same resources that were only accessible to large firms in the past.
- File Management Software
Law firms who run a lean operation and can’t justify full-service management software may only need file management software.
Notes, legal filings, and even emails can be saved under a client’s file, making it quick and easy to find them when needed.
With the onset of eDiscovery came companies dedicating full-time effort to eDiscovery technology. Software providers recently began offering eDiscovery platforms.
These platforms, such as Relativity, allow for advanced technology, such as machine learning, to be used to process and analyze data.
This allows for better data management and processing at a larger scale. When millions of dollars rest on getting discovery right, these technologies are priceless.
- iPad Devices and Touch Screen Tablets
Thanks to this new technology, a modern lawyer can easily keep up on current trends, cases, and material.
Today court cases are busier than ever; more information is created in higher volumes, making it impossible to keep up in the modern era using only paper. Luckily, compact multi-purpose tablets now exist to make it easy to read and consume legal files.
A safe bet for good tablets is the newest model (6th generation) Apple iPad Mini. This tablet has a 7.9-inch retina display, allowing for a compact outline with robust capabilities. Besides iPads there are many other purpose-built tablets, because the best tablet for video calls may not be the best tablet for reading.
Certain models of the Kindle e-reader offer an “e ink” display, which is easier on the eyes and allows you to read long files without causing eye strain.
Alternatively, Microsoft’s Surface line of tablets offers the same full functionality as any Windows computer in a “convertible” tablet or laptop. The Surface Pro is a great choice for any attorney who needs to use specific programs or security tools that are only available on Windows.
Lawyers on the move can use tablets like the iPad to keep up with the latest news, research on-the-go with Westlaw, or download a great book to read. This portable device allows a lawyer to take case files with them in PDF and digital formats and then read these files on the bus, on a flight, or even in court.
Besides simply reading content on-the-go, tablets offer access to the Apple App Store or the Google Play store enabling law firms to leverage innovative new apps. According to the American Bar Association Journal, apps like GoodReader make it easier than ever to review pleadings, briefs, exhibits and more.
- Artificial Intelligence Technology
AI technology is new and upcoming in the legal world. Most lawyers understand late nights of reading through case after case trying to find the perfect support for an argument. AI technology has advanced to accommodate natural language.
AI services such as ROSS, allow a user to enter in a legal question and have ROSS use AI to determine an answer. This technology can be a lifesaver for a small, single-person firm.
- Legal Research Sites
The days of sitting at a library and flipping through pages of treatises or court reports are over. Sites like Westlaw and Lexus Nexus, allow lawyers to research volumes of legal information. These platforms are now integrating AI technology too. A user can perform a manual search in conjunction with using machine learning to find the most relevant documents even faster.
CaseText allows users to upload briefs and uses AI to find relevant and similar cases. CaseText will look for cases with related facts and show legal authorities used in other court rulings and filings. This is virtually a legal assistant built into a software program.
- Billing and Time Tracking
One of the most challenging parts of managing a law firm is tracking time. One of the most significant ethical issues is the unreasonable billing of clients.
TimeSolv billing software allows a lawyer to track time used in a case and bill appropriately for those hours. These software packages allow for invoicing, time tracking, and payment. Time is money, and getting it right the first time saves both.
All in all, technology is just another tool. Law firms can leverage new technology to their advantage to be more competitive and provide more value to their clients.
After mobile technology, AI is the next frontier for advances in legal technology. Look for more updates on this subject as new technology breaks into the mainstream.
Hayk Saakian is an IT professional who has helped many businesses establish a strong online presence through online marketing and lead generation. He also writes interesting reviews on his website https://www.hayksaakian.com/ about the latest technologies with a particular focus on where tech advancements and a person’s lifestyle and needs meet.