Three Legal Tech Trends to Watch in 2016
What's new for legal technology in 2016? To start off the new year, we've researched the industry legal tech trends you should keep an eye on in the coming months.
Traditionally, the legal industry produces a vast amount of paperwork. Case files contain depositions and other documents that must be physically stored and referenced. In 2016, look for law offices to turn to paperless solutions for document management.
Why? For starters, storing physical documents is much more expensive than storing them electronically. Having digitized flies also makes it easier to quickly find the information you are looking for, rather than having to pour over boxes of old legacy documents. Electronic files are easier to share with clients/lawyers outside of the firm, and eDiscovery technology has made redaction of sensitive information a quick and secure way to process paperwork while keeping client information confidential. For all these reasons, law firms are looking to increase their use of digital document management.
While the switch to digital will likely stretch beyond 2016, there are some small steps law firms can take to reduce their physical paper needs and adopt a more digital office. Electronic billing, eDiscovery, and digitizing older files are all workable, affordable solutions you can put to use today to start working toward a paperless office.
With an increasing focus on digital communications, law firms will be adapting to their customers' needs in 2016. Busy lives and distance are making face-to-face client meetings more difficult. With video conferencing services like Skype, text messages, and email, law firms are able to reach their clients through more non-traditional channels. This push to web-based communications also allows law firms to increase their client base, focusing on cases that may typically have been outside of their area in previous years.
Technological advances in communication are also changing the way law firms share information with their clients. As discussed above, the push for digital document management will impact how firms review cases with clients. Instead of having a client physically visit an office to review or sign documents, firms can digitally share the document, have the client electronically annotate or sign, and then send back to the law firm. With many firms looking to cloud-based solutions for quick, easy, and inexpensive file sharing, you can expect to see a rise in the number of digital legal documents shared in 2016.
Data Management and Storage
An increase in digital communications like text messaging, email, and shared documents is going to produce a massive amount of digital data. Figuring out a way to sort through this data efficiently will be a major focus for firms in 2016. Digital archiving of files with metadata tags can make finding and referencing documents easier, and eDiscovery software is already used by many firms to automatically redact sensitive information.
What's coming next? Some publications speculate that artificial intelligence will become an emerging technology in the legal field. Don't worry; this doesn't mean legions of robot lawyers arguing cases, but it does mean that some review processes have the potential to be greatly simplified by adaptive intelligence. Companies such as Kira Systems and LawGeex are already producing AI software to analyze contracts, saving lawyers time reviewing lengthy documents that could be better spent on clients.
These are just three of the top trends we identified for legal tech in 2016. Be sure to check our blog regularly for the latest in industry trends and technology. We'll also be exhibiting at the upcoming LegalTech conference, which will be packed with insights and best practices from industry experts. If you're attending, stop by our booth (#234)!