The year 2016 was many things, but you can’t argue that it wasn’t important, especially in the area of technology. For better or worse, many of the developments that emerged in 2016 will change the way we live and work.
For the legal industry in particular, these innovations will have a significant effect on attorneys’ efficiency, strategy and client base. Attorney Robert Ambrogi gathered some of these innovations on his blog, and below we’ve highlighted the top developments that will change the legal industry in 2017 and beyond.
Analytics are reshaping how lawyers think.
The tech world has always lived and died by analytics, but the same couldn’t be said for the legal industry—until this year. Several major players, including Bloomberg Law and LexisNexis, have made headway in collecting and sharing insights on judges, courts and cases. For lawyers, this new data provides a deeper perspective that can be extremely helpful when developing case strategy.
Artificial intelligence is making the legal industry more efficient.
Tedious but necessary tasks like researching case law, reviewing financial documents and analyzing contracts can take a ton of time. But exciting new partnerships between a handful of major law firms and AI companies have laid the foundation to develop time-saving products that can understand colloquial commands and automate tasks. Expect to see more legal AI startups and partnerships in 2017.
Chatbots are making legal advice more accessible.
Chatbots that respond to questions and commands aren’t new, but the legal industry hasn’t embraced their usefulness until now. While the technology still has a way to go, several new legal chatbots popped up in 2016. Do Not Pay helps people fight parking tickets, while Docubot helps clients create legal documents.
Hacking scandals are proving that law firms need better security.
Hacking was arguably the largest tech issue in 2016, and it’s not going away in 2017 or anytime soon. Law firms shouldn’t waste any time getting serious about cybersecurity. Yet few have taken even minimal precautions against hacking: only 37 percent of law firms report that they use encryption. Don’t let your firm’s lack of planning in 2016 become a national headline in 2017.
The Internet of Things is creating a new practice area.
Coined in 1985, the “Internet of Things” (the network of ordinary objects that are connected to the internet) has recently become mainstream. From refrigerators to cars, more products are getting connected—and that means there’s more potential for legal challenges. Several Biglaw firms created “Internet of Things” practice groups to focus on communications, tech and regulatory issues related to these new products.
I look forward to seeing how these technological advancements continue this year and will blog updates as they transpire!