Legal And innovation – The New Combo!
Perhaps the only industry to remain relatively unaffected by the digital revolution is the legal sector. The legal sector is a $27 billion industry. However, there are still a number of unemployed solicitors. This statistic has forced potential law students to rethink their career options. Tech startups have already noticed this chasm in the legal sector and have begun working on systems that will commoditize legal services.
Rummaging through the past
Legal case files belong to the public domain. However, the legal sector spends millions if not billions in assortment and segregation of past case files. With big data analytics in the picture, it is not surprising that legal startups such as Judicata have emerged in the market intending to provide research and analytics tools to sift through the vast data.
Leveraging client sophistication
The single greatest obstacle encumbering legal services from permeating the market in the past was client sophistication. Today, with ‘smart’ devices in the playing field, the scenario has changed completely. The implementation of ‘smart legal services’ have already begun. For example, the IIT Kent Chicago School of Law in the US has created an online tool called A2J author that connects self represented solicitors and those who require their services. Soon, legal aid will be delivered in real time.
Focusing solely on service
Innovative legal service startups have begun to emerge that employ solicitors merely as consultants. Solicitors may no longer concern themselves about the business aspect of providing legal services. They can devote their entire time in providing quality service for the clients. For example, certain startups are providing legal services by assembling teams of solicitors for their clients. These clients only pay for services rendered and avoid unnecessary overhead
Aggregating, predicting and automating
Juristat is a legal startup that delves into an ocean of legal data, summarizes it and throws out outcomes based on which lawyers can make well informed decisions. Other online resources have been known to predict Supreme Court rulings well in advance. ‘Internet of Things’ technology has the potential to aggregate past data and provide automated legal solutions. Contracts that communicate with one another are a few of the possibilities. Computable contract applications are already being developed by startups such as Ethereum.
Do we need lawyers in the future? Yes. The law is in a constant state of flux. Big data and IoT will make legal services efficient for solicitors and more accessible to the public. However, complex legal scenarios will always require the problem solving capacity of a lawyer.