The world is shrinking, as a result of technological advancements closing the gap between countries across the world. The traditional model of communicating, working, or connecting has evolved with the internet.
Technological developments across industries including legal are growing leaps and bounds, and there is no dearth of innovation. The pandemic accelerated the growth in tech adoption to an unprecedented height.
The inclusion of artificial intelligence (AI) based innovation is further reducing the administrative tasks for most professionals including in the legal field. Legal tech now not only assists single-point users but also helps across diverse geographies at an international scale.
Global Judicial Integrity Network (JIN), conducted a webinar in September 2021 on Emerging Technologies and Judicial Integrity | UNDP in the Asia and the Pacific region. The webinar concluded that the ASEAN regions have seen a new judiciary face with online filings, hearings, and virtual courtrooms, identifying ways to work from home. All sections of society can access the services without being physically present.
User experience counts
The new-age consumer is always on the lookout for a better experience. Right from ordering food to securing an appointment with the doctor, home cleaner or beautician, the end-user has a variety of options at the helm.
Legal is no different, technology has made such a stark contrast, with tech services at the fingertips of the professionals and consumers. Further access to global talent enables affordability and efficiency in getting quality work. Within the legal services, some areas where technologies/services are helping to break boundaries include:
- Virtual education: While legal education is a continuous affair in developed economies like the US, UK, Australia, a few APAC countries still lack continuing legal education.
Thomas Brunskill, the CEO of Forage (formerly InsideSherpa), that teams up with large professional service firms to create online training courses, while talking to Natalie Runyun of Thomson Reuters Institute stated “I was frustrated that what I was being taught at University didn’t prepare me for the world of work.” “Open up the professional service sector to students from all backgrounds and front-load practical legal training”, was his vision for legal education.
According to Deccan Herald, an Indian daily news agency portal, A new vision for legal learning, points at the importance to upgrade the skills of a lawyer. The learning could be knowledge or skill-based. Law schools are breaking the geographical barriers to collaborate with leading global universities to re-skilling the legal fraternity.
- Online Services: Attorneys can assist with various concerns, from forming an enterprise to resolving disputes, reviewing and negotiating contracts without being physically present with the client. The advancement in cyberspace had led to legal access at anytime and anyplace. Hiring reputable legal services has never been easier before. Governments across the globe utilise online services to help the needy get pro-bono legal assistance along with providing important information to all.
- Mobile applications: Legal applications make it easy to connect with a specialised lawyer in just one click thereby saving travel time. The legal professionals and law firms with their mobile applications have a better outreach to the public and are easily visible to the target audience closing the physical distance between them.
- Metaverse: The development of virtual reality takes us to another level of blurring borders. With just a headset, a legal professional can be anywhere, meeting a client or defending a case in court. The possibilities are endless. There could be a whole other universe like Metaverse, a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users, where real-life boundaries mean nothing.
An article by Victoria Hudgins on law.com, Virtual Law: NJ Firm Launches Metaverse Office for Client Services, states that a metaverse law firm has been established. Cherry Hill, New Jersey-headquartered personal injury firm Grungo Colarulo announced it is launching a metaverse office. The firm intends to solidify the connection with the client in the pandemic which is a step further from normal zoom meetings to avatar-based meets. They also aim to increase the client base by increasing outreach using such technology.
Cost-arbitrage to curb borders
Apart from bringing potential clients closer to the legal professionals, innovation has also made collaboration within the legal community easier and even desirable. Outsourcing utilises labour arbitrage as the driving force, with a “follow the sun” delivery approach.
Companies offering to outsource ensure that their clients receive the best results from the most skilled professionals worldwide by outsourcing clients’ work to value-oriented geographies. It increases not only the agility of the work performed but also creative quality, ensuring that professionals with specialised skills are utilised regardless of their location.
The demand for ‘freelance attorneys’ is rapidly expanding, particularly among lawyers who want more freedom in their work schedules and scheduling flexibility. This development has shifted toward more flexible work arrangements for freelance attorneys recruited by established organisations, resulting in a market that is becoming more “employer-driven”.
Ready to embrace the change?
While it may be at a nascent stage, legal technology is the future of a truly borderless society, where legal services can be accessed from anywhere. From virtual meetings to avatar-based interactions, technology ensures that services are not restricted by geography, and consumers get the best assistance remotely. There is huge potential of increasing client base by making use of technology into unchartered territories.
It is a win-win for legal professionals and consumers. The future is a world where all stakeholders cooperate, collaborate, and utilise innovations to their full potential.
The question remains – are we (as a consumer or a legal professional) ready to embrace the change?
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Novum Learning or Legal Practice Intelligence (LPI). While every attempt has been made to ensure that the information in this article has been obtained from reliable sources, neither Novum Learning or LPI nor the author is responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information, as the content published here is for information purposes only. The article does not constitute a comprehensive or complete statement of the matters discussed or the law relating thereto, and does not constitute professional and/or financial advice.