Five Top Legal Technologies, Past and Future
A friend recently asked two two questions: 1. What would you say would be the top five technological improvements in the legal profession over the past five years? 2. What would be the next beg steps for technology in the legal profession coming up? . My answers below.
What would you say would be the top five technological improvements in the legal profession over the past five years?
- 1. Lower cost of hardware, improved ease of use of software , and mobility (including broadband net access), all of which mean lawyers can work from most any location.
- 2. For large law firms, maturing of portal software (e.g., SharePoint) and enterprise search (e.g., Recommind), which mean firms can find, consolidate, and present disparate information more easily. But this does not solve the information overload problem.)
- 3. For litigators, e-discovery data processing cost drops and search capability increases. Unfortunately, the growing data volume all but obscures these huge improvements.
- 4. Social media and collaborative platforms – e.g., blogs, wikis, Legal OnRamp, Facebook, Tweeter – for sharing know-how internally, for connecting with fellow professionals, and for marketing legal services.
- 5. Cloud computing, which makes many software services lawyers need cheaper and easier to manage; as important, it supports and fosters collaboration.
What would be the next beg steps for technology in the legal profession coming up?
- 1. Wider spread adoption of social media and cloud computing.
- 2. Improved tools for dealing with information overload.
- 3. New interfaces that make doing work easier, as illustrated by touch / gesture paradigm of iPad and iPhone.
- 4. Renewed growth in practice specific intelligent tools, both for lawyers and for clients, e.g., contract analysis, interactive advisory systems, document assembly.
- 5. On-going challenges remain: security, privacy, data preservation, learning new systems, change management.
- [Bonus Answer: Batteries that last all day but that may be a long ways off.]
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