Technology’s rapid growth is affecting the legal industry. In 2018, businesses invested more than $1.6 billion in legal technology, a 713% increase from the year before! Legal professionals are currently implementing changes to ensure security, promote efficiency, and improve efficiency. As 2020 approaches, expect to see these trends at the top of the list:
Technology Brings In the Cloud
Put simply, the cloud is a virtual server that stores data so that you can save room on your hard drive. Users can access the data from a remote site with the proper credentials. The American Bar Association reports that while lawyers lag behind other professions, over half of them now use cloud technology to store data. Expect that number to increase in 2020. Google Docs and Apple’s iCloud top the list of cloud services, but other options include legal-specific cloud services like Clio, NetDocuments, and MyCase. Especially due the recent weather events, using cloud technology is a must. Law firms wan to be up and running as quickly as possible after a severe storm or power outage.
Because of all the personal and confidential data that law firms accumulate, storing data in a remote location, remains a concern. In a survey from the Association of Corporate Counsel Chief Legal Officers, 59% of chief legal officers said they feared cyber breaches even though only 24% had experienced a data breach.
A troubling number of attorneys are not taking the necessary steps to protect confidential data. The ABA referred to this problem as “a train wreck waiting to happen”.
Here are seven factors to consider when determining the appropriate level of cybersecurity;
- What is the nature of the threat?;
- How the confidential client information is stored and sent;
- Are reasonable electronic security measures being utilized?;
- What is the best way to protect electronic communications?;
- Is the client information labeled as “privileged and confidential”?;
- What type of training on cybersecurity is offered to attorneys and non-lawyer assistants; and
- Is there a due diligence check on vendors who provide technology service?
The good news is that firms are taking more steps to protect client data by implementing more cybersecurity measures, such as:
Using Technology to Accomplish Automation
Cybersecurity requires due diligence from sentient beings. Automation and artificial intelligence (“AI”) can automatically accomplish tasks in other areas of the legal profession. Although these terms may be used interchangeably, artificial intelligence can responds to a myriad of events. Already, AI helps draft routine work, such as non-disclosure agreements.
The biggest barrier to implementing a cybersecurity plan is cost. Therefore, it is no surprise that AI/automation is prevalent at larger firms. AI/automation technology is can be used to analyze data from several sources, provide insight at a faster pace, and at a lower cost than humans can. Although ethical implications remain, this technology would allow attorneys more face to face time with their clients.
Using Technology to Analyze
Another use of “Big Data” that’s becoming more prevalent is the practice of analytics. Especially in trial preparation. Machines can more efficiently analyze data to gather information about a particular judge, attorney, expert witness, or the exact time a case takes to litigate a case in a specific courthouse. This use of technology is invaluable to a law firm.
Analytics is useful for a firm’s marketing, as well. Search engine optimization and services like Google Analytics provide feedback for law firm marketing staff to assist them with best practices and the most efficient ways to reach a target audience. Especially with strict rules regarding legal advertisements. Google analytics helps to streamline the process.
What comes next?
Finally, technology is rapidly evolving and disrupting many industries, and the legal profession is no exception. There is debate and disagreement among experts on how the legal industry will be affected. However, the trends from recent years reveal that technology will continue to dominate the industry in 2020.
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