The great 3 Innovation in legal technology for 2021

by Jones David

The decade we left behind was the time when we finally had an opportunity to witness the legal sector make its baby steps towards a higher level of technological advancement. While legal professionals are still somewhat lagging behind other industries, we’re slowly, but surely getting there.

A new wave of innovation is slowly creeping up in the form of new technologies that are yet to be implemented in the legal sector, such as blockchain and the Internet of Things. 

Still, what technology can be implemented right now that can truly be considered innovative? 

Let’s take a look.

Where are we now?

First, we need to address the elephant in the room – the COVID-19 pandemic. In a lot of ways, the events surrounding the lockdown were the needed final push for wider adoption of legal software across the entire industry.

While it did happen as a means to an end, beggars can’t be choosers when it comes to lawyers and technology. Overnight, we’ve seen law firms adopt cloud-based solutions such as practice management systems and legal document management solutions. 

However, as much as we are happy that legal professionals aren’t outliers when it comes to technology anymore, there is still room for improvement.

A Mitratech survey earlier this year revealed that remote working will stay relevant and that legal departments anticipate the use of technology to increase in areas such as contract and matter management. Unfortunately, there was no mention of the biggest buzzword in the legal industry – artificial intelligence.

A different study, conducted by Oxford, states that the adoption of legal technology powered by AI is still low, with only 27% of respondents using it for legal research, for example. This means that there is still the untapped potential that legal professionals are yet to the plugin. 

We are living in an era where true innovation IS occurring, best exemplified in these three examples:

  1. AI contract analysis is a website you have to visit to get a better idea of how AI technology can be implemented very fast in the form of an accessible MS Word add-on. 

Loio Document review-based software can make your life easier and save a lot of time. Most importantly, it minimizes the chance of errors being overlooked as it automatically identifies issues in complex legal documents. 

Harnessing the power of AI and machine learning techniques, the app automatically scans your entire document, finds the key details, and classifies them for easy access. This means that the process of manually combing through the document (a process that traditionally takes a lot of time) is over in just one swift swoop. The technology is here to help you with routine tasks and make your work more efficient.

While the highlights function is the main selling point, Loio also uses the same technique to repair poorly formatted documents, thus eliminating the hassle of doing it manually. Plus, it also helps you fix any numbering issues with just a couple of clicks. 

This is the prime example of how AI is not there to replace lawyers, rather, it’s just a tool that can make them much more efficient. 

  1. AI Legal brief software 

At first glance, Clearbrief is similar to our previous example. They’re both AI-powered MS Word add-ons that can solve the pitfalls of outdated document workflows. However, Clearbrief is different as it’s aimed mostly towards legal briefs. 

The main feature of this software is its ability to automatically find legal sources you cite in your brief, and it finds differences between your text and your sources. It also finds the most appropriate documents that support every sentence you write, at the same time you are writing.

Clearbrief also lets you comb through your opposition’s brief and find any inconsistencies or misinterpretations in their legal arguments, as well as the ability to quickly review every source they cite. 

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Plus, two bonus features can help you save additional time. 

When you are done with your brief, it’s uploaded to a secure cloud, with all the sources linked. The second bonus feature is Clearbrief’s ability to let you easily generate a Table of Authorities.

  1. AI predictive analysis

We previously mentioned the percentage of legal professionals that use AI technology for legal research. The same technology can also be used to predict future outcomes as well.

Software such as Lex Machina can take the guesswork out of your practice, so you can gain insights into how your case will pan out when brought in front of a specific judge or the current win/loss ratios for a specific judge particular type of case. 

This means you can make educated guesses on future outcomes which opens up the possibility of securing a better result for your client.

How does this work? 

AI can analyze large amounts of quantitative data such as historical decision-making patterns of judges. For example, AI can break down data on how certain judges reacted to a type of argument in the past or their usual rulings on similar cases.

The best thing is, AI-powered ‘’fortune-telling’’ is very accurate. As far back as 2016, AI was used to predict the outcomes of the European Court of Human Rights with an accuracy of 79%. 

Riding the wave of innovation

If we’ve learned anything from the events surrounding the pesky pandemic situation, it’s the fact we can always do better. The same lessons apply to the current state of affairs in the legal world.

While the adoption of AI technology is still somewhat low, legal tech investments are steady. 

For instance, Clearbrief recently raised $1.2 million in seed funding. This is a great indication of growing interest in new types of legal software and an even bigger potential for new investments.

Hopefully, legal departments around the globe will recognize the benefits of legal tech and its transformative nature and see it as the only way forward.

The possibilities are endless, we can only hope legal professionals stay up to speed.

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