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Technology And The Law (Part 1)

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It can be said, and agreed with by many on all levels of the judicial system, that law and the systems by which we make, review and uphold legal operations and proceedings have grown over the last few centuries. From the establishment of Common Law in the Middle Ages to what we have today in our modern legal infrastructure, one can track the various progressive movements that have brought us to what we now think of when saying the phrase “traditional law”. In this current time, the evolution of the legal system has gone with the technological wave that is inevitably sweeping all industries across the globe. These changes can be viewed as a sign of the times, reflecting the socio-economic and psychological changes in pattern and thought. Research in any topic that examines the union of law and technology is few and in-between, but steadily increasing in various institutions and companies as the undeniable evidence mounts gradually.

In the article published online in February 2019 by in titled “Legal Technologies in Action: The Future of the Legal Market in Light of Disruptive Innovations” a group of researchers aimed to discover what the changing technologies in law were comprised of, how clients and lawyers alike responded and what were the advantages as well as lack therefore in the Disruptive Innovation system as opposed to the traditional system.

The article notes three main driving factors that could be arguably important in influencing the changes we are seeing in the legal world. The first is that clients want faster, more efficient service at a lower cost, especially since the traditional method of law employs a numerous amount of middle-men tasks and roles that succeed in creating a “strictly hierarchical structure” that is “inherently interested in keeping the law opaque and obfuscated to gate-keep the monopoly”. Secondly, there is room for a more liberalized approach in the many career options that now become available to legal practitioners.  England is cited for passing the Legal Services Act in 2007 which gives anybody considered a non-lawyer or a paralegal the opportunity to open business of that deal with certain legal matters. Playing a huge part in this development is the third point: that technology is now making all of this possible. Therefore, clients who want better service in a quicker time period can now do business with Alternate Legal Service Providers (ASLP). These type of companies, though not touting as typical law firms, are able to do many of the services that traditional law offices provide (document review and litigation support, among others).

Writer Sam Mire compiled information from 25 key players in the modern legal system. Their responses to the question of legal issues and technology could all follow a similar train of thought as it relates to where the legal industry is going. Blockchain, Bitcoins, the ability to work freelance, the ability to do more client-direct transactions, Cloud-based storage, free online resources and the use of social media for engagement and promotion were all among the benefits cited by the professionals. According to Michael Elkins, Litigation Attorney at MLE Law, “Lawyers may hate social media, but the lawyers that aren’t on social media today are already dinosaurs.”

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