IS LEGAL TECH THE FUTURE
Author: Archit Diwakar, I year of B.A.,LL.B. from Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala.
Legal tech, as we can infer by reading the word, is the combination of two concepts Legal and Technology, i.e. the use of technology to provide legal services and support to the legal industry. With the increase in the number of startups, this concept is also gaining momentum. Working in these startups’ employees get flexibility which is a major factor for new talents joining them, and this poses a challenge to the traditional law firms in the market. The blog deals with how legal tech has brought transparency in the sector for the benefit of both clients and lawyers. Traditional law firms are trying to evolve according to new norms due to which the employees are now able to maintain a good work-life balance. This blog is an attempt to find out how legal tech is affecting the lawyer-client relationship and accessing its effects on the industry.
Is Legal Tech the Future?
When we see the world around us, all the businesses, including the legal service industry, are flooded with technology. From the smallest startups to the large law firms all have started to implement legal tech into practice to keep up with the ever-growing world.
Legal tech as the word suggests is the synthesis of two concepts Legal and Technology, i.e.the use of technology to provide legal services and support to the legal industry. Legaltech startups are developing technology, tools and software that can process a legal question and also suggest some possible solutions. For example, an app that catches the keywords from your query and tells you all the case laws, relevant law and sections.
If we look back to the previous decade, we will find that legal technology has been used in the marketplace but the usage back then was very different from what it is today. The application of this technology has changed from traditional understanding to a big advantage that promotes the new startups and the existing firms if they try to adopt the change.
Moving Away from Tradition
Today if we look at the working of the traditional lawyers and law firms, the environment in which they work is not very much supportive. We can find many people who have quit their jobs due to demanding working hours and late nights. This poses a big challenge to them in the market.
On the other hand, if we see fresh startups, don’t you sometimes wonder how are they able to hire the top emerging talent? or how are they able to sustain in the market with such huge competition from established law firms? A simple answer to these questions is that they offer something which the large law firm cannot i.e. flexibility. This is the reason why the new emerging lawyers are choosing the entrepreneurial path and jobs in legal startups rather than in law firms. In the coming years, the effect of this factor will become visible within the human resource department of these traditional law firms.
Another important aspect that needs to be considered is lawyers have been a significant part of society, but most of the common people outside the legal profession have no idea about how the work is done or whether the services provided by them are really valuable for money. “For example, any lawyer specialized in inheritance law, or notaries: They provide standard consultation for standard issues plus a repertoire of 10 to 15 standard securities. They sell this package week for a week at an expensive standard price according to the regulation on fees, and consumers don’t even notice how little value they are receiving for their money as they normally only need to use this legal service once.”[i]
Legal Tech startups have now started working to combat this issue. By using the internet, these startups are trying to make the legal system more transparent and easier to understand. For example, when a consumer claims the damages due to delayed flights or trains the legal tech startups deal with it in a very transparent manner. They show you transparent pricing for the damage which you can easily understand, not like the traditional way where you are told that you’ll be getting the damages but you don’t know what that will be.
Change for Betterment
Achieving flexibility at work, as already discussed, in my opinion, can be a cumbersome task for the traditional industries, as many are reluctant to change, make sense too, as they are already set, they have their clients, they are earning well. But change, of course for betterment, is the law of nature. You can’t sustain yourself in the industry if you are not evolving. The same is the case with traditional industry, after seeing the emerging start-ups they have also tried to change their employees’ work processes to retain the emerging talent, increasing their engagement with the new employee and providing them with a good atmosphere to work. All of this, if implemented, will eventually lead to happier and more motivated employees who will be satisfied with their jobs and their work-life balance.
So, this can be counted as one of the advantages of legal tech and emerging start-ups. In this way without disrupting the industry they are helping in transforming it for the better, for both customers and the workers.
Legal tech, without any doubt, is a much-desired element in the legal sphere acting as a link between the lawyer and the client. The main aim of the legal tech startups is to bring down the cost of litigation and the cost of seeking legal assistance, they are here for the betterment and are most welcome by the public at large and the lawyers themselves. The reason being, it saves a lot of time and money for the clients and also provides opportunities to the lawyers like never before. Technological development is not a competition but a tech game. A game that we all must support for the benefit of the clients and the future success of the industry.
[i]At,https://medium.com/@Cristin_Liekfeldt/legaltech-for-more-transparency-in-the-legal-system-60c89e57bb11, ‘last accessed’ 23rd March 2021.