With technology moving at today’s rapid pace various industries are being forced to implement practices that they may not entirely understand, and the legal profession is no exception. Even the American Bar Association has an entire section of their website devoted to helping understand today’s legal technology. Listed below are some of the recent technological trends and how they are affecting today’s legal practice.
1. Protecting Data and Privacy – With today’s use of social media being commonplace care must be taken that information considered to be confidential is not inadvertently disclosed. Some users of social media believe that they are sending “private” messages while in fact they are broadcasting their message to an entire user base. Transmitting documents via the internet has its own set of possible privacy violations; if the document contains social security numbers, healthcare related information, or bank account numbers it must be transmitted as confidential across an encrypted system.
2. Utilizing the “cloud” for data storage – Remote data storage is becoming commonplace, even in law practices. It is much less expensive to store data in a remote location than to purchase computers for data storage in an office environment. The problem lies with verifying that the data being stored is actually secure from theft. Even if the storage area is protected via user authentication or encryption there is still the risk of hackers gaining access. The best method for protection is to mirror or duplicate the information in two separate locations and to encrypt the data before it is stored.
3. The Remote Lawyer – Being able to contact clients and work from a remote location is a huge benefit in today’s society. Everyone from the court reporter to the lawyer themselves now has the ability to use video conferencing or teleconferencing in order to perform their needed duties. Security is the issue here; a laptop can easily be stolen as can information being passed across an unsecure network (like you find in a coffee shop). Other users can easily intercept the data being sent across an open network, so ensuring that remote users are properly trained is of the utmost importance to their clients.
4. Data Analysis – From predicting cases to analyzing fee structures, analyzing data is one the rise in the law profession. Firms who have adopted this technology early in the game will enjoy a significant advantage over those who have not. Companies that specialize in analytics are being used successfully by hundreds of the larger law firms across the country.
5. Predictive Coding – The process of discovery is more automated today than ever before. Document review via computer greatly reduces the amount of non-related documents that one would have to sort through, which saves both time and money. With most documents being electronically stored it makes perfect sense that the stored information would be utilized in this manner.
Technology is changing at a fast and furious pace, with most individuals running to catch up. Adopting the latest technology can enable lawyers to improve their clients’ experience, which in turn will help to grow their practice.