By Sushmita Dey-
The legal sector is considered to be one of the oldest businesses of times and it has remained unchanged for as long as we can go back. Years ago a customer who wanted legal consultancy had to meet up with a lawyer physically, seek his advice and pay accordingly, and even after so many years, the working of the attorney-client has not changed. The profession is thus referred to as traditional and conservative.
However, technology has now invaded every business known to humans and the field of law is no exception. More so in recent years or precisely since 2011, legal firms have associated themselves with technology start-ups to give way to technology and disrupt the traditional approach and thus has adapted to various changes around itself, making itself familiar with high-tech software. As a result, the work of lawyers has become far easier and individuals can avail legal services without too much hassle.
Legal technology or legal tech as commonly known refers to the use of technology to provide legal service and support lawyers, making their work less tiresome and also making the world of law a bit more accessible to common people. Legal tech start-ups are companies that have emerged as a platform to ensure a smooth interaction between lawyers and their clients.
With time the clients have started to pressurize the lawyers to take the assistance of technology for better cost and time management. Being technology savvy also benefits the lawyer by keeping them in market competition. In 2012, the American Bar Association has voted for making amends in the model rules of professional conduct, requiring the lawyers to be aware of the benefits and risks associated with the use of relevant technology.
LEGAL TECH CAN ASSIST TO CHANGE THE LEGAL FIELD -
Today innovation can be seen in every field and is made available to each and every individual. Hence, the legal sector must adopt the technology and change with time otherwise it will be left behind in the long run. Innovations in the field of law imply providing a helping hand to a legal counselor, law officers with n number of legal works and in turn also giving a chance to individuals to take help of the online counseling website. It reduces or totally diminishes the need to meet a lawyer face to face. The main purpose of Legal tech companies is to alter this traditional approach and make individuals more familiar with the legal know-how.
The work of lawyers has become far quicker and efficient as well as with various technical tools, thus resulting in more profit. Without the use of legal tech, the client might suffer for the short term but in the long run, it will be the lawyers who will suffer because ultimately the clients will choose other firms who are more aware of the advanced technology and are likely to deliver more cost and time-efficient results.
Thus, legal tech has assisted the legal field in the following ways-
The law firms have been able to break the barriers of traditionalists and become more flexible in their approach and have continually been motivating its employee, creating a happy work environment and thus, attracting newer clients.
The latest technology has enabled transparency, which helps the client to be aware of the progress made in the case and reduce their fear of being cheated.
Technology helps in the effective management of time and money, which means individuals, will have to pay lesser money to get their work done and the lawyers can take up more clients as their workload is reduced.
As a result of mixing law and the latest technology and software, a win-win situation is created for both lawyer and clients, thus improving their relations drastically.
Areas in which legal tech has proven to be helpful-
Practice management, etc.
Different tools provided by legal tech to deal with recent growth areas are-
Providing a platform to initiate conversation between the lawyer and the client.
Client relationship management tools.
Providing tools so as to enable the individuals and business to deal with legal matters themselves avoiding help from the lawyers.
Law practice optimization
Data and contract analytics
Platforms for succession planning i.e. will writing
The use of a digital signature helps to verify the digital identity of each signer.
Automation of legal writing or other substantive aspects of law practice.
Provide tools to deals with the preparation of immigration documents.
LEGAL TECH AND PANDEMIC -
Litigators have over the years grown accustomed to the workings of the courts and have shown reluctance to any kind of changes. However, the surge of COVID-19 has forced them to change the age-old method and adapt to the changes and provide consultancy from the comfort of their home. The pandemic has proven that technology is no longer an option but a necessity and they must be treated as allies. The legal sector has thus witnessed the much-waited digitization. In these trying times, legal tech start-ups have emerged as a savior for people in distress and provided them with an outlet to seek legal advice. The pandemic has compelled lawyers to rely on technology to deliver the clients solutions. Initially starting with video conferencing, they have now shifted to using various other legal tools to impart better results.
The Coming Age Legal Tech Start-ups-
Like every other field, the legal field has seen quite a few upcoming start-ups. These companies are the perfect mixture of law with technology thus enabling the legal sector to keep up with technologies. A few of them are-
1. LawRato- Founded by Rohan Mahajan and is based out from Delhi. It is an interactive online platform that helps the users with a fast and easy way to communicate with the best lawyers of the city and the country via video conferencing, emails, etc. They aim to make legal services high quality, cost-friendly, and on-demand for every user across the country. With a team of 50000+ lawyers, the platform has witnessed its journey. The founder in an interview said its most remarkable experience was to help Nirbhaya’s parents by representing their case pro bono through senior counsels in the supreme court.
Vakilsearch is a technology-savvy platform offering services to startups and established businesses to deal with their legal needs. Their services include documentation filings, accounting, incorporation, tax filings, etc.
iPleaders comprised of passionate lawyers trying to make the law more accessible to people. The courses offered are used by a wide range of people starting from lawyers, law students to consultants, officers. iPleaders promotes that businesses can manage their own legal issues if they are properly educated with the basic knowledge and equipped with proper resources.
It is a law student-oriented website that provides everything related to law school such as internship, paper submissions, career opportunities, etc.
A Mumbai-based tech start-up, presolv360 was founded by Bhaven Shah, Namita Shah, and Aman Sanghvi with the intention to replace the conventional workings of the court by creating a technology-backed mechanism that would help people to deal with the matter in an effective manner economically. It is an end-to-end platform where clients log in and raise their dispute and states the result they would like to get. A qualified expert is then allotted to the case to resolve the dispute. The dispute is settled on an average within 45 days.
The start-up was founded in the year 2018 and is India’s first practice management app that emphasizes on cloud computing technology. Lawyers can build a network of their existing clients as well as accept new clients. One can buy legal advice and talk to legal experts and can get their queries answered. It is also available in the mobile application so it is time effective and enables individuals to seek justice when they are occupied otherwise.
Legality is an online platform that helps in getting eSignature, e-stamping by mere use of Indian identity number without the hassle of getting into regular paperwork.
Algo Legal -
Algo Legal is a blend of legal services with advanced technology to ensure better results. They have an innovative approach to law and provides automation tools, document management, and virtual data room. Algo Legal provides end-to-end services while maintaining consistency and quality of work. It allows clients with attorneys who have years of experience so that they can deliver the expected results, thus making the platform solution-oriented.
Since 2017, spot draft has identified itself as a platform to provide solutions with the help of legal technology to enable organizations to review, draft and manage their contracts irrespective of the size of the company. It helps their customer to put their business on autopilot.
With ever-changing technology, it has become essential to change the way of work so as to deliver better results to the clients and remain afloat in the competition. It is both the client and competition in the market that has pushed the legal profession to acknowledge the need for technology in the business and come out of the barriers of traditional chains. Young generation lawyers are more likely to rely on technology to make their work easier and earn double profit along with providing quality results to their clients. Legal tech start-ups come in with solutions to increase the quality of work and provide support to the law. They bridge the gap between lawyers and clients, making the working transparent. They reduce the cost which the clients need to pay and also at the same time enable a lawyer to take up more clients. Hence, they are welcomed with open hands by both parties.
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