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Legal Tech - The future of law?

By Debra Malpass on 21 March 2016

Understanding the changing legal market is key to the work we do in the Research and Analysis team. Luckily I have a team full of inquisitive minds who want to know how solicitors work now and in the future. We want to know what discourages people from using legal services and what prevents firms from delivering new services. The answers to these questions will help us make sure our regulation is fit for the future. 

To find out more about what the future might hold, George, a manager in my team, attended the British Legal Technology Forum to find out how solicitors are using cutting edge technology to better serve their clients. 

The event was the perfect opportunity to talk to the firms, suppliers and clients that are working ever more closely together. This is what he found out. 

Speakers and sessions 

With keynote speakers including Professor Richard Susskind OBE, author of books including Tomorrow’s Lawyers and the Future of the Professions (co-authored with his son Daniel) and Professor Daniel Katz, a leading light in the world of legal predication and the wisdom of crowd sourcing legal solutions (read his blog ), we were spoiled with ideas and insights for the future. And with breakout sessions such as AI: The only thing to fear is doing nothing and The technology paradox we were left in no doubt that change is happening and new technology will have a major role to play. 

AI and Law 

There were demonstrations of the how artificial intelligence can increase efficiency. For example: 

  • completing due diligence ten million times quicker than human lawyers 
  • e-discovery strengthening the risk environment within firms by understanding if an employee is not following its policies,
  • how big data can predict the outcome of litigation 
  • how firms are already beginning to automate time-heavy tasks such as reading Land Registry documents. 

Many firms might feel such technology is not needed. Such systems are not common, even amongst the biggest firms, but their very existence would have been impossible just ten years ago. Like any technology that has a client demand, it will become cheaper and more accessible over time. 

Common technology 

Many of the smaller firms in attendance agreed that the use of technology was at the forefront of their minds; Paperless offices, using social media, unbundling, contract lawyering and working remotely are all things that are happening now in high street firms up and down the country. And they were all unanimous in what was driving change: their clients were becoming more sophisticated and expect firms to use the latest technology. We were left wondering whether legal services was at a tipping point or if change would be slow-burning. The delegates were pretty split. But from a regulatory perspective, I am in no doubt that we need to ensure that solicitors have the flexibility to embrace technology and use it to better serve their clients. 

Are you wondering how you can make the most out of new legal technologies while keeping your data safe? 

Read our new Innovation and IT paper.

Debra Malpass