Four generations are now working together – the Baby Boomers, Traditionalists, Generation Y and Generation X. As paralegals, attorneys and the other legal professionals continue working beyond their retirement age, most legal departments and law firms are working hard to balance the generation gap of over 50 years between the youngest employees and the oldest ones. Four generations working within one environment present workforce challenges and dynamics. That has led to faster adoption of the most recent technologies such as legal firm management software, chatbots and artificial intelligence. Here are the technological trends witnessed in the United States legal sector.
Amendments on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures has made electronically stored information including instant messages, emails, e-calendars, voicemails, data and graphics on handheld devices discoverable during litigation. The common name for discoverability of the electronically stored information (ESI) is electronic discovery. Due to the growth of ESI in the United States, the complexity and cost of e-discovery processes have significantly increased and changed the face of complex litigation. Some of the new roles in the litigation support, trial technology and e-discovery are addressing the electronic realities.
Due to social networking, the practice of law is changing. The number of social media tools available for legal professionals is increasing and they help them accomplish various career objectives and legal tasks. In fact, it has changed the job hunt processes, recruitment, location and discrediting of witnesses, the management of careers in the legal industry and the interaction with clients. Some social media tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter are important in marketing, they are helping legal professionals, and attorneys reach more people, advertise, accomplish branding and develop goals.
Virtual law firms
Powerful software-as-a-service, mobile devices and secure website-based technology allow law professionals to work from any place. As a result, the number of legal professionals working from their homes or virtual law office has been increasing. Virtual law offices provide a good alternative method of working that allows flexible working hours and fosters a work/life balance for legal professionals. Apart from lawyers, other professionals are working virtually too.
Legal software to manage organizations
Law firms are using legal firm management systems to manage their clients and record cases and import documents. They are also using the software to plan for appointments and schedules, accounting and billing and set their deadlines. The software systems are helping lawyers comply with
some policies including document retention and electronic filing systems. And because most law schools do not provide lawyers with the skills to run firms, they are using law practice software as a way of simplifying their learning curves and reduce clerical errors.
What was once entertaining science fiction has become a practical reality with services like Alexa and Siri. Now, you can imagine that Siri is a real lawyer. Some companies like Ross are creating interactive virtual lawyers to help answer questions and do research. Special commands or even typing is not important because these lawyers can respond to the regular questions in natural language.
As technological advancements continue more applications and tools made or re-engineered with AI are proliferating. The legal world now offers chatbots that can advise clients on whether to pay parking tickets or not and algorithms that predict the outcome of cases.
Technological advancement has had a huge impact on most professional industries. The technologies are known to create new business opportunities and change the working of most professionals. Artificial intelligence, social networking and virtual law firms are some of the legal technological trends we have witnessed in the United States. Most firms are also adopting legal firm management software.