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Impact Of Technology On Legal Profession In America

Sunil Gupta, @sunilgupta91

Legal profession was said to be one of those fields that lag behind in technology. Lawyers have always used medieval means such as paper files, letters, etc. All of the legal practices were carried out using traditional methods involving the use of paper. It took several years to use email communication for legal practices.

The last two decades have experienced major advancements in technology and now the legal profession has also not remained untouched from this. Lawyers have been increasingly moving towards the use of modern technological apps, devices, etc. and relying on them. There are major differences in the technology and law firm of past, present and future.

  • Past: In past, photocopier and printer machines were used. Fax machines were used to transfer important documents from one lawyer to another. Books were studies to gain knowledge of the legal legislations, case laws, etc.
  • Present: Today, many technologies are emerging and one of them is cloud computing. E-filing is done for filing various reports. Lawyers use social media to market their practices and firms.
  • Future: Changes are occurring in the technological world and law firms are also trying their best to gain a competitive edge. There are endless possibilities and opportunities for law firms in future. Manual work will be automated to a large extent, thus reducing the burden. Enormous legal libraries will vanish and their place would be taken by e-libraries or Kindle books.
As the changes in technology will affect legal profession, this profession will evolve. The automation involving the use of word processing, spreadsheets, telecommunication channels, etc. is going to make the professionals proficient.
According to attorney Jonathan Rosenfeld of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, "Now we are incorporating new technologies from case intake through trial. These advancements are getting incorporated into our daily practice because they just work. They're making us more efficient and reducing errors."
The technology is affecting the law firms, courtrooms, professionals, corporate world, etc. This is how it affects:
  • Law firms: In law firms, electronic billing is replacing the traditional use of paper. Electronic devices are changing the way by which the documents were handled. Now everything whether it is editing, archiving, framing documents is done via devices and processing software. This keeps a record of the all the documents/data and tracking can be done easily.
  • Legal professionals: The professionals or lawyers are also changing their way of working. When earlier they used to perform every task manually with hands, now they are relying on database managing tools. They are making use of operating database applications and law libraries related to their practice area. Legal research database software are used to handle and track the status of any case file.
  • Courtrooms: with the increasing trend of e-filing documents, the technology in courtrooms is also changing. They are becoming well equipped with devices of the modern age. The personnel inside the court are also relying on various technology means such as bells, whistles, etc. Presentation software and other technology can also be seen in courtrooms, now.
  • Corporate: with the advancement of technology in law firms and court rooms, the corporate associated with the legal profession is also facing technological changes. Computer programming is used in companies to gather and formulate any legal information which is then passed to the concerned lawyer. Government departments are also using their legal services electronically.
By now, you have seen how technology is affecting the legal profession in America. Even though, it is leaving a positive impact, but it needs to be handled carefully.

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