Legaltech has proved itself irreplaceable in various business practices. It permanently tailors all legal services for lawyers’ and clients’ easy access, and it helps legal practitioners achieve work-life balance without stress.
Since many attorneys have experienced first-hand how technology helps them perform their tasks with little error, they can be confident about the usefulness of 2023 legal trends. Let’s see what innovative trends in the legal profession will come in 2023 and how they will affect attorney workflow.
Trend # 1: More Legaltech Solutions and AI
The latest legaltech solutions in the legal field are designed to streamline lawyers’ routine tasks. There is not one person who currently doesn’t use at least one application for his or her everyday business practice. Many of these business processes can also be fixed or updated with the right choice of new technologies.
According to Wolters Kulwer statistics, 64% of corporate legal and law firm specialists are ready to invest in legal technology adoption. Up to 87% of attorneys shared that they’re more willing to work in a company with a legal tech-savvy environment rather than a company that is not familiar with current tech trends.
Legal marketing consultant Glenn Reid at Reid & Partners Legal Marketing highlights the significant role of AI in legal workflow and legal experts’ productivity. He provides an example of how lawyers can benefit from implementing AI in their tasks: “It can be used to write wills, contracts and letters in a matter of seconds. I foresee law firms adopting AI as a supplementary tool in 2023, but not as a replacement for lawyers just yet… An experienced legal expert must be at the helm when using AI to generate contracts.”
Contract drafting, which is a significant part of corporate lawyers’ job duties, usually demands a lot of time and increased focus. While some human attention is required, some legal applications could make the contract preparation process much more efficient. Whether it’s smart contracts or contract drafting software, attorneys and paralegals can enjoy multiple benefits from legaltech options. Most competitive solutions for contract management and document automation are programmed to catch inaccuracies in legal papers and highlight them with corrections or alternative suggestions.
Trend # 2: Cloud Platforms
Private cloud solutions have become a great tech option for lawyers, as cloud-based software enables them to keep data remotely and access it whenever necessary. Also, cloud technology is constantly being improved, which means that lawyers could upload clients’ contracts containing sensitive information without worrying that the working device may break down.
The risks of data breaches, however, remain. Despite these risks, Chuck Kellner, Strategic Discovery Advisor at Everlaw, predicts the effect of adopting a cloud solution versus sticking to traditional on-premises methodology: “The contrast between those who do and don’t adopt the cloud will become even more apparent with greater economic headwinds in 2023… those in the cloud can generally move faster, collaborate in real time, and work more efficiently than their counterparts using on-premises ediscovery tools…those who haven’t adopted cloud solutions may put their clients and business at risk by employing manual or disjointed processes.”
Out of cloud-based software comes the matter of cybersecurity, segueing into another example of one of the best legal tech trends in 2023.
Trend #3: Cybersecurity
It is no surprise that with the increased use of computer software, legal teams were faced with the challenge of securing private data. Law firms, after all, hold a significant amount of confidential and personal information concerning their clients that cannot be disclosed.
In an ABA survey for previous years, 29% of lawyers reported that their firms experienced at least one type of security breach, such as lost or stolen computer or smartphone, a hack, break-in, or exploited website. The level of cybersecurity implemented, which determines how effectively the system can protect against breaches, correlates with a firm’s overall income. For example, although most of the security breach events didn’t hurt the firm’s performance, 37% of the respondents admitted losing billions of dollars due to these breaches.
In the same survey, lawyers discussed the tools they use to protect themselves from security breaches. Sadly, more than half of the survey participants do not take cybersecurity seriously and instead put in minimal efforts to protect their data. The following are specific security methods employed by law firms, with percentages of use:
- file encryption (43%)
- email encryption (39%)
- whole/full disk encryption (26%)
- two-factor authentication (39%)
- intrusion prevention (29%)
- intrusion detection (29%)
- remote device management and wiping (28%)
- device recovery (27%)
- web filtering (26%)
- employee monitoring (23%)
- biometric login (12%)
When cybersecurity is streamlined into a law firm’s business practice, employees have greater flexibility and ease to access and exchange necessary data, especially for remote work. In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, working from home remains one of the major trends in the legal industry, which makes cybersecurity all the more relevant and critical.
Trend #4: Remote Hybrid Work & Court Hearings
The pandemic has taught us the importance of establishing business practices that allow attorneys and legal staff to work remotely without disrupting the workflow. While some professions easily adapted to a hybrid work environment, the legal niche started adopting the necessary technology enabling remote work far later than others.
Numerous companies are known for their quick and smooth shift to office/home work conditions. The results were auspiciously shown in the following stats:
- Scientists at Stanford University announced that companies save a minimum $2,000 per employee who moved from the office into the home to conduct work.
- Beyond financial benefits, 63% of employees enjoy professional development benefits of working at home, according to a Forbes survey.
Remote court hearings have also become popular and more widespread. Recall the scandalous defamation case of Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard, which was in the spotlight during this past year. Virtually the whole world was watching 9-hour legal proceedings online on YouTube and actively supporting their favorites. This was only possible due to the current trend of remote court hearings.
Trend # 5: Free Access to Legal Information
Whether it’s concerning a specific area of law or a legal case analysis, people want to more fully understand the legal issues that pertain to them. Many hope that they can find relevant legal facts and information online, independent of hiring a lawyer, to help solve their legal issues.
The laWow.org Co-Founder Jonathan Wallentine pays a considerable amount of money to get up-to-date legislation from federal and state governments and publish it legally on his source. He states that the Americans’ need for easy-to-access legal information will exist for a considerable amount of time in the future: “This demand will only increase as a result of limited transparency of the industry and courts as a whole.”
Governmental institutions aren’t the only ones that are starting to provide performance transparency. Legal practitioners are also starting to care about their professional image and brand, including their online platforms.
Trend # 6: Social Media Appearance
The use of social media and blogging, in general, is one of the inevitable legal technology trends because they are becoming increasingly popular. Not only does social media create a direct connection with the audience, it helps lawyers to maintain a strong reputation and professionalism.
In 2020, the ABA on law technology statistics found that 80% of law firms had a presence on some social media platforms. Here are the most popular networks:
29% of the lawyers admit that their presence on social media helped them to meet clients because potential clients reached out to their firms after studying their social media profiles. More attorneys said that the clients reach out to them because of their blogging activities and the virtual format of communication.
Even though blogs are not as popular among law firms as social media is, they play an active role in self-presentation among solo practitioners. For example, many lawyers write about their topics of interest, present their knowledge and skills, and create more engagement for their work in legal blogs and lawyer directories.
Most of the trends in the legal technology industry began with the rapid change the pandemic brought upon the world. The necessity to organize legal processes in a way that would work virtually was a challenge. Legal professionals may have initially been reluctant to accept technology into their work routine, but that’s changing today. Legal market tech trends helped many attorneys navigate the changing times in order to keep up with the evolving demands of their profession.