Law & Technology: 3 trends we are watching in 2019

Legal tech is one of those topics that it seems everyone is talking about. Each year, legal tech gets bigger and better and appears to be changing the industry quite rapidly. But what does this actually mean? From new apps and services, to shifting client expectations, to new regulations covering tech and what it means for the practice of law, there’s plenty for lawyers and legal professionals to stay on top of in 2019. Here are some of the legal tech trends we are watching this year!

The utilisation of big data and legal analytics

The legal profession creates an ever-increasing amount of data – including judicial rulings, and precedents. Innovation around the way in which law firms use big data sets is imperative to the efficiency of future practice and delivering legal work at scale. Big data is and will be increasingly important in improving client service and performance. Lawyers can employ analytics to structure these data sets to extract the most relevant information pertaining to their case. For example, one of our favourite links to draw is to Facebook, one of the data masters of the world, producing approximately 4.75 billion pieces of content per day.

You might remember that in 2017, Facebook conducted a study wherein it manipulated content published on approximately 700,000 users newsfeeds to determine how users respond to positive and negative content. Ethical issues aside, the use of big data in this way could work to predict mental illness in Facebook users. This poses the question: how do you stay on top of data when you have so much of it? This is where artificial intelligence comes in. Data-driven systems can employ learning algorithms to decipher and analyse big data sets. Such as predicting mental illness in Facebook users, the use of probability analysis of past precedent can assist in predicting the percentage of success in current cases.

Embracing new technology

With the increased adoption by law firms of legal tech products such LawSwitch, Prose and Smarter Drafter, gone are the days of law firm libraries or firms requiring an extensive in-house accountant, researcher, or IT team. Meanwhile, automation and smart contracts are revolutionising document review systems and processes, with software like LegalGeex ability to beat experienced lawyers in both accuracy and speed. 2018 saw more than $1 billion invested into legal tech, and we predict that number to grow in 2019. Moreover, smart contracts are not widespread at the moment due to their one-dimensional nature, we predict that smart technology will take giant leaps in 2019.

Creativity and culture are driving innovation

Innovation isn’t just about technology. People drive innovation, therefore allowing people to be creative leads to innovation and the competitive edge that law firms are all trying to achieve. On this, it’s imperative that law firms strive to create a culture in which their employees can actually be creative. The legal sector of BUPA, for example, has been leading the way in doing all they can to encourage and leverage design thinking, allowing employees to be their genuine selves at work. Leaders of law firms are learning not to take themselves too seriously, and rather, are harnessing the power of the millennial brain when driving creativity and culture.

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