Technology has become an integral part of our society. It plays a vital role in human lives now transforming every section and strata of society. From children to the oldest people, all are using technology and it has made things simple and easier for people. From education to the corporate world, technology has proved useful and supportive providing numerous benefits than drawbacks.
Technology is not limited to Business sectors only, but it has paved its way into the legal industry as well. Corporate law firms have adapted and embraced the technology as it has made their work process much easier and simpler. Technology is proving best friend to lawyers in various areas of work and many litigation lawyers have already started embracing technology in their daily routine.
Why Embracing Technology is Crucial Now More than Before?
COVID-19 has proved the need and vitality of certain changes in the legal industry. Whether law firms or litigation practitioners, usage of technology is growing daily. From e-filing to hearing via video conferencing, Courts have gone virtual although certain difficulties are being faced by the judges and the advocates. However, coping with the change and need has left not much space.
Time is unpredictable and Coronavirus outbreak has proved and forced people and every small and big business to a standstill for an unknown time period. In such a situation, it turned out to be extremely essential to embrace technology as it will make the process of work much smoother and easier. It will also save the cost of time and avoid other unnecessary stuff.
The present situation has taught people to find an alternative and long-lasting solutions over the available resources. Amid this crisis technology adoption has become the key to survival and success.
Software Available for Lawyers and Law Firms
Time and Billing Software
This software tracks time spent on working on a project accurately and creates invoices accordingly. Time and Billing software is helpful in creating accurate time deadlines and crucial for the firms or companies in the professional field. Some of the law firms are benefiting from this software already now.
Customer Relationship Management
Customer Relationship Management or CRM software is essential for business companies and law firms are no exception in my opinion. CRM is very critical to businesses as it helps to consolidate company data in one space. Law firms can access customer data, send bulk emails to their clients and newsletters, invitations, etc.
Document Management Solution
This software is used for the collection of secure data. It helps to organize, store, access, and share documents including confidential files. Through this application, Documents can be stored on the cloud and can be accessed from smartphones or tablets.
Finance and Accounting Software
This software can make work much easier and simpler by providing financial tools and features that can help lawyers and law firms in tracking and managing their book of accounts, profit, and loss, monitoring all financial performance, etc.
Proofread and Review
Proofread and review helps read and review large files that can take hours to read and review by a man. This is less time consuming and more reliable in terms of errors.
Knowledge Management Software
Knowledge management software can help lawyers and law firms organizing, publishing, and sharing important documents including opinions, transaction files, judgments, etc. This software also helps to lessen the cost while maintaining the quality of work.
It helps to manage your cases and it works as a reminder keeping the details of all your cases. This is proved to be less hectic for lawyers and law firms.
In addition to the above list of software, other digital tools which are helpful to lawyers for a better experience for their clients are Live Chat, Artificial Intelligence enabled document scanners for scanning large and heavy documents and other data; this is already being used by most of the law firms and lawyers in their offices. This software is commonly used in countries like the USA and UK.
Benefits of Technology
- Technology takes less time in comparison to humans
- Fewer chances of error as technology will increase accuracy and transparency.
- More reliability unless the software gets corrupt and hacked.
- Large data files storage.
- Easy Access, Time management, and fast process
- Reduces large stack of papers into a device that is also environment friendly.
Drawbacks of Technology
Every coin has two facets so it is with technology usage. Drawbacks are as follows: -
- Cyber-attack risk
- Lack of fully trained users can cause the risk of data loss.
- A mistakenly given command can corrupt the device.
Cyber-attacks are emerging rapidly since the lockdown started as various big organizations and companies have allowed their employees to work from home and home internet networks and systems are not fully cyber secure. Security can be breached easily, and the organization’s confidential data can be stolen. Therefore, the risk is high using the unsecured system.
Limitation of Technology for Lawyers in the Present Scenario
Necessity is the mother of all invention. Definitely, lawyers are trying to learn and adapt to present scenario, however, subordinate courts lack basic IT facilities including lawyers practicing there and Bar Council of India in its letter addressed to Chief Justice of India has shown emphatic concerned towards advocates and judges as well mentioning “I can emphatically say that 90% of Advocates and hon’ble judges though out the length and breadth of the county are themselves unaware about the technology and about its nuances,..” (Source: LiveLaw).
19 lakhs advocates practice in India and the majority of lawyers lack the basic IT infrastructure so it is not hard predicting that 90% of advocates and judges lack technical knowledge and find it hard to learn and adapt technology.
The present situation is enough to teach the lawyers and law firms that their staff and they shall be well versed with technology and changing aspects of society. Only survival is not enough but co-existence with the unseen situations has become crucial.
What Can Be Done to be Future-Ready?
To avoid such chaos in the future, lawyers can facilitate themselves with technology advancement and provide proper training to their staff. So that they don't find themselves in the pool of unknown. Some suggestions are as below that lawyers can avoid the present crisis in the future by: -
- Update and upgrade with technology.
- Bringing technology to practice in their daily routine of work.
- Research and exploring Artificial Intelligence including other aspects of technology.
- Encouraging more virtual meetings and usage in their work style.
- Not restraining themselves to a particular software or application.
Technology can help lawyers and law firms in various positive ways. It improves communication and efficiency. It also helps to keep employees engaged, increases the quality of their work, provides an unlimited supply of knowledge. Lawyers and law firms can get maximum benefit by training their staff and themselves. Technology has revolutionized the legal industry with its advancement. It can help law firms and law offices to achieve higher milestones driving their work capacity and sorting their small work issues for instance case updates, client management, etc. However, considering the available IT infrastructure of our country, technology adoption amongst lawyers, law firms and law offices will take some time. So, for progress, growth, and success in the future, every lawyer should prepare themselves and learn to adopt technology and become future-ready.
“Technology can become the wings that will allow the educational world to fly farther and faster than ever before-if we will allow it.” – Jenny Arledges
Authored By: Asha Singh, Advocate
Practicing in High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh
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