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What Lawyers Should Be Thankful For in 2016

Nicole BlackThanksgiving 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.

Just as I have benefited from the many technology advancements in recent years, so too have my fellow lawyers. Because of new technologies, their practices have been streamlined and improved, allowing them to provide better, more personalized representation to their clients. 

For starters, lawyers should be grateful for increased mobility. Whether it’s smartphones, tablets, or wearable devices, such as smart watches, lawyers are now untethered from their desks and have the ability to practice law from any location. This means being able to work effectively from home or elsewhere, with full access to law firm data and documents. No need to camp out at the office for access to information; instead, mobile computing gives lawyers the freedom to work from anywhere and provide clients with answers to their important questions even when not in the office.

Next, lawyers should be thankful for 24/7 access to information while on the go. Because of cloud computing, mobile devices are far more useful than they would otherwise be. It’s the power of cloud computing that gives mobile devices their power and versatility by allowing data processing and storage to occur off of their devices and in the cloud. When cloud and mobile computing are combined, lawyers benefit. Lawyers have instantaneous access to client information and law firm data, giving them the flexibility to be responsive and to work no matter where they are.

The ability to collaborate online is another reason lawyers should be grateful. Litigators, in particular, have benefited in 2016, as more software products have been rolled out that are designed to facilitate collaboration between litigation teams. Using litigation case management software, teams of lawyers can collaborate and share notes about case-related evidence and documents in a secure web-based platform. Litigation collaboration by simplified and streamlined, thus reducing redundancies and inefficiencies in the litigation preparation process.

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Lawyers should also be appreciative of advances in AI that reduce the repetitive tasks of day-to-day practice. Using machine learning and advanced analytics, AI software is being designed to impact many areas of practice by reducing the amount of rote work often performed by lawyers.  For example, there are new software tools on the market that take advantage of AI to streamline timekeeping, contract review, due diligence analysis, and legal analytics for litigation. It’s important to emphasize that AI software will not replace lawyers; instead, it will remove some of the drudgery of practicing law from lawyers’ lives, allowing them to focus on higher level analytical thinking and on the needs of their clients.

Technology is changing the legal landscape and providing lawyers with more options and better tools than ever before. Improvements and advances in software are making it possible for lawyers to be more mobile, collaborative, and responsive, while focusing on the work they truly enjoy. Clearly, lawyers have a lot to be grateful about as the end of 2016 approaches. What technologies are you thankful for that you that have changed your day-to-day practice for the better?

Nicole Black is the Legal technology Evangelist at MyCase, a cloud-based law practice management platform. She is an attorney in Rochester, New York, and is a GigaOM Pro analyst. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

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