Now that 2017 is drawing to a close, it’s time to review the legal technology happenings of the past year. What legal technology events and trends shaped 2017 and will no doubt continue to have an impact in the years come?
Here’s a retrospective on my focus here on Legal IT Pros since last January. While not all encompassing, it offers a (hopefully) instructive glimpse into a small sliver of the legal technology world and provides some insight on what to expect in the upcoming year.
Cloud computing has been around for more than a decade now. At first, law firms were slow to adopt to the concept despite the fact that it offers a host of benefits, including 24/7 access to law firm data, the convenience and flexibility of being able to enter billable time using mobile devices, the ability to communicate and collaborate with clients and others in a secure online environment, and being able to easily manage calendaring and tasks from any internet-enabled device.
The practice of law has changed significantly over the past decade, in large part due to technological innovation. One major factor contributing to the rapid pace of change has been the rise of mobile and cloud computing. With the iPhone’s release in 2007, it was suddenly possible for lawyers to practice law and access important case-related information stored in the cloud from anywhere at anytime.
According to a recent study conducted by Altman Weil, Law Firms in Transition 2017, 72% of responding firms believe that change in the legal industry will continue to take place at a rapid rate. This is a significant increase from 2012, when only 61% of respondents believed the pace of change would increase.
Unfortunately, many lawyers in larger firms are refusing to change the way that they do business despite finally acknowledging that the legal profession is undergoing an industry-wide paradigm shift in ways never before seen.
This year there’s been a lot of buzz about artificial intelligence and the ways that it will affect the practice of law. This happens in the legal tech space whenever a new technology emerges that has the potential to change the way that lawyers do business. As is often the case when a new type of technology emerges, there tends to be a lot of hype and speculation, which can sometimes make it difficult to separate fact from fiction. AI is no different.
Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and shaping the expectations of your clients, while simultaneously leveling the playing field. You owe it to your clients to make efforts to understand what they expect from your firm and then learn how to take advantage of those changes in order to provide the best legal representation possible.
For starters, today’s tech-savvy legal clients expect better communication and greater access to information – both about you, your law firm, and their cases.
Now that ABA Techshow 2017 is behind us, it’s time to reflect on the ups and downs of this year’s conference. As is always the case, there were some highs - and some lows.
The low this year was obvious to all who actually made it to Chicago: the weather. The show was slated to start on Wednesday, March 16th, just one day after one of the worst winter storms of the year hit the East Coast, while another barreled into Chicago. This meant anyone from the East Coast who wasn’t able to move their travel plans to earlier in the week never made it into Chicago.
Last week thousands of lawyers, legal IT professionals, and others with an interest in legal tech made the annual pilgrimage to New York City and descended upon the Midtown Hilton. For people invested in learning about the latest and greatest innovations in legal technology, especially eDiscovery, this is a great conference to kick off the new year and mingle with other likeminded people. This year’s conference was, however, markedly different from earlier versions, at least on paper.
When it comes to cybersecurity, lawyers often get a bad rap. The industry’s known reticence to embrace new technologies similarly extends to the perception of its general lack of understanding of security issues. And in many cases, the evidence does indicate that lawyers fail to enact necessary cybersecurity measures for any number of reasons.
Common sense dictates that larger law firms would have better cybersecurity procedures in place due to large in-house IT staff and devoted legal IT budgets. But surprisingly, according to the results of the American Bar Association’s latest Legal Technology Survey Report, large law firms are often the most likely to experience security breaches.
As another year draws to a close, it’s time to take a look backward. In 2016, I wrote about a lot of different legal technology issues, but which ones stood out? What legal technology trends shaped 2016 and will continue to shape the legal profession well into 2017 and beyond?
I started the year off in January discussing one of the most talked about topics of 2016 and then returned to that topic again in June: the effect of AI on the legal profession. Despite the dire predictions of some that robots would soon replace many of the functions that lawyers perform, I concluded that that simply wouldn’t be the case.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner for lawyers in the U.S. For many, this time of year is a time to reflect on the positive - to take stock of your life and be thankful for the good things that have come your way. Following a tumultuous election, many are unsure what the future holds. But for me, one constant for which I am grateful is technology and all of the opportunities it provides.
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