Legal Tech Explained: Law At the Forefront of Disruptive Innovations and Technologies

The legal sector is the last vestige of tradition and conservatism in business models and operations. It took a while before any innovators started to dabble in the sector and try to come up with a solutions and systems to make it more efficient and effective for its purpose. Legal Tech or Legal Technology started in 2011 and is the application of technology and solutions to aid law firms and solicitors in UK practicing different branches of law.

It started in corporate law practice, and solutions include practice management, document storage, billing, accounting, and electronic discovery. Billing and accounting solutions are patterned to the software found in most businesses. The breakthroughs or disruptive innovations are in practice management, document storage, and electronic discovery.

  • Practice management is the management of a variety functions in the daily operations of a corporate law practice including management of their counsel team, interior and exterior; daily operations, conflict and ethics management and marketing. It is often used to organize information within office operations.

  • Document management are solutions designed to manage, track and store documents for the purposes of organization and reducing use of paper. These systems have the capability of recording the original documents and modifications including annotations and tracking different creators or modifiers of the documents. Doc management systems also have indexing and retrieval services as well as protection and security.

  • Electronic discovery is defined as the discovery of legal proceedings in litigations, government investigations or Freedom of Information Act requests in electronic form also known as Electronically Stored Information or ESI. ED is under the rules of civil procedure and “agreed-upon” procedures. Under such rules, the request undergoes review for relevance and the privilege of the person requesting the information before the ESI is turned over to the requesting person or party. Included in the ESI is metadata information which may be relevant to the evidence or case.

These solutions are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s been happening in the legal tech sector.  As more disruptions provide efficiency to legal practice as well as in hastening the processes for clients and even practicing citizen’s legal rights without the aid of a solicitor are being created, modified and in accelerator programs.

  • Tools or platforms that help consumers and businesses tackle legal matters on their own, removing the requirement of a solicitor.

  • Platforms that connect clients with qualified solicitors within required specialties.

  • Data analytics in relation to contracts, litigation and procedures.

  • Will writing - online applications and tools that assist in immigration data preparation in line before hiring a solicitor.

The drive for legal technology is to improve efficiency in the existing system and/or gradually changing the legal landscape to conform to changing standards and the demands of consumers/clients.