Legal Tech trends will continue to buffet the legal business in 2019 – more than ever, in fact. But in a review published by LexBlog, the changes remain significant with major players like Microsoft playing a role.
Each year, legal tech changes faster and faster.
1. New Expectations: The age of the client-centered law firm is here.
LexBlog point out that new technology brings new client expectations noting that the 2018 Legal Trends Report found that for most law firms, there’s a gap between what lawyers think clients want and what their clients actually want. Fifty seven percent of lawyers expect that their clients prefer to pay them in person, but only thirty nine per cent of them actually do.
Clients expect the same excellent service that they get from companies like Amazon from any business they interact with, so law firms that can provide instant communication, thoughtful service, and all-around client-centered experiences will stand out from the rest.
Firms need to streamline their communication processes using new technology.
2. The platform-ization of legal tech
The use of apps and platforms is central to the new technology which means instead of wrestling with different programs and risking error with duplicate data entry, you can use tools as needed and access all of your information from one powerful platform.
. . platforms encourage those who develop legal tech tools to work together: By communicating via an Application Programing Interface (API), companies are better positioned to iterate, standardize, and build something that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
3. The enhanced requirements of online communication
Lawyers have a duty to comply with professional ethics rules well beyond the office and the courtroom. This includes online life as well, and in 2019, the need for lawyers to be mindful of how they communicate online will be more important than ever.
4. Knowing when to use chatbots (and when not to)
The use of both Artificial Intelligence and chatbots is on the rise in law firms, and laws about their use are starting to become “more nuanced” as well. Some would argue that chatbots are a “lawyers’ best friend’.
For example, in California, there’s now a law that bans bots from misleading people into letting them believe they’re a real human.
. . take care to ensure you’re not using a bot to “incentivize a purchase or sale of goods or services,” and save nuanced, critical conversations for real humans.
5. Stricter privacy laws
The EU in particular has taken strict measures regarding data privacy laws, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 and new privacy rules coming into effect in California in 2020.
Privacy, confidentiality and related issues will become increasingly important and compliance will become essential.
6. Improving court technology
Increasingly sophisticated courtroom technology permitting digital filing, video conferencing and so forth will become even more prevalent in 2019.
It’s a worldwide trend, with courts in the UK, North America, Australia and New Zealand rapidly developing increasingly sophisticated digital technology in courtroom processes.
7. Tech-supported diversity initiatives for law
A 2018 study found that female partners still make 24 per cent less than male partners in US law firms on average and comparable figures apply in the UK and other jurisdictions.
LawFuel has regularly reported on issues of gender inequality and sexual harassment and the legal industry is beginning to take firm steps to counter the problem and address it sensibly and seriously.
Large tech companies continue to support this change. For example, Microsoft continues to incentivize its preferred provider firms to diversify their leadership, and celebrated the 10th anniversary of its law firm diversity program in 2018.