The coronavirus pandemic has changed things, especially in rapidly integrated law technology. There have been some cut back regarding the number of in-office hours needed, however, there is an increased demand for in-house law support staff and IT professionals. This is true especially for those who want to move past entry-level positions.
The biggest impact on the legal field for 2022 is artificial intelligence (AI) and its AI-powered document discovery tools. After reviewing millions of existing documents, case files, and legal briefs, a machine-learning algorithm flags the appropriate sources that a lawyer needs to craft a case, often more efficiently and successfully than humans. These AI programs change how law firms conduct legal research and reshape what skills are more relevant in the law office. AI programs change how law firms conduct legal research and reshape what skills are more relevant in the law office. Furthermore, law clerks and paralegals accustomed to trudging through stacks of dusty law books and case files to find relevant information have learned new ways to work alongside the technology.
Here are some of the more prominent legal trends to follow in 2022:
Law office automation uses technology to complete repetitive processes, from client intake to document automation. According to a study at the McKinsey Global Institute, 23% of a lawyer’s work is automatable. After analyzing 2,000 work activities for 800 occupations, the institute reported that although artificial intelligence will take over a decade to replace any legal jobs, law firms are already utilizing smart software and devices. The study predicts that thousands of legal roles will be fully automated by 2036. However, the study concluded that “even when machines do take over some human activities in an occupation, this does not necessarily spell the end of the jobs in that line of work. On the contrary, their number at times increases in occupations that have been partly automated because overall demand for their remaining activities has continued to grow.”
Automated task codes in billing helps to streamline each legal task and expense when it comes to compiling billing information and formatting invoices. In addition to automating billing codes, the computer-assisted billing applications substantially decrease or eliminate the review of monthly invoices. In the billing applications of the past, timekeepers logged time spent on a task, and partners had to review and approve the time spent. The new applications alerts timekeepers in real-time when they are spending too much time on a task.
Legal research is time-consuming. Thanks to improvements in Natural Language Processing (NLP), applications like Bloomberg’s Points of Law, CaseText, Lexis Answers, WestSearch Plus, Ross Intelligence have improved interactions between humans and computers. NLP combines computational linguistics with artificial intelligence to allow users to inquire about extremely specific information. Automated legal research makes research easier for attorneys, is exponentially faster and helps remove human error.
Growing Artificial Intelligence
As AI continues to integrate into our phones, televisions, and tablets, we can consider AI a crucial part of the legal and IT workplace. Streamlining data management, analysis, recording, and storage is crucial to time-sensitive deadlines. AI Is already taking care of document review. Much of the software used to automate these routines and everyday tasks requires a dedicated IT staff. The time and money saved through automatic document review alone are astounding.
Recently, there has been a spike in cyberattacks, both at law firms and technology companies. With the increased scrutiny on the privacy of client information, the legal landscape is shaping to hire more tech-savvy paralegals. Technological improvements have created new opportunities with new job titles. Salary will increase with legal expertise and professional technology skills in litigation, information governance, compliance, and cybersecurity.
According to the American Bar Association, “Candidates for future lawyers will need to be able to demonstrate emotional intelligence, and a deep understanding of the ways in which technology can aid in achieving client outcomes. These traits and skills will be at least if not more valuable than law school grades. The inflexion point for the delivery of legal services is upon us. The faint of heart, who seek to cling to the old models, will likely not survive long”.
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