It’s easy to say (two years now into the pandemic) that COVID-19 has changed the legal profession forever. After a massive shift in 2020 and 2021 to working and conducting legal proceedings remotely, with the help of many remote technologies, many legal professionals may be wondering what lies ahead from a technology perspective. After such a dramatic change, is there still more disruption to accept?
The answer is yes! The world turns, technology continues to evolve, and so does the legal services industry. Below are predictions for technology trends that will continue to be important in 2022 and help shape the industry in years to come.
PS If you want to read our cybersecurity predictions from 2021, Click here.
Hybrid Remote/In-Desk Work Model
Two years into the pandemic (and with various reports on when/if the “end” is in sight), remote working is no longer a temporary fix, but the way of the future. A recent MyCase survey revealed that working remotely benefited the legal profession; 60% of companies in the survey said profitability remained stable or increased during the pandemic and for 73% productivity increased significantly due to the adoption of remote work tools.
70% of MyCase survey respondents also indicated that their law firm will allow remote working even after full reopening. To help support an ongoing remote work culture, law firms should embrace technology that makes remote work easy, accessible and productive, such as RemoteDepo™ by United States Legal Assistance.
In 2021, US Legal Support scheduled 132,000 remote events through our remote deposition platform, enabling legal industry players to quickly and easily conduct depositions in a remote or hybrid format. Using an internet connection and a webcam-equipped device, lawyers communicate in real time, observe the body language of witnesses, present exhibits and facilitate interrogations in a seamless manner.
Importance of cybersecurity
2021 saw 50% more cyberattacks per week on enterprise networks compared to 2020. While it may be easy to explain this statistic as only affecting large enterprises, according to Accenture study on the cost of cybercrime, 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses – and only 14% are prepared to defend themselves. And according to the Ponemon Institutecyberattacks in small businesses have increased by more than 20% since 2016.
And another report found that 24.9% of all ransomware attacks in the first part of 2021 targeted small and medium-sized law firms. Due to the rapid adoption of remote work over less secure home networks and the sensitive nature of their work, law firms have become targets for hackers. US Legal Support recommends that law firms put cybersecurity initiatives at the top of their list of technology priorities.
Further reading: Why cybersecurity should be a priority in 2022
Free download: [CHECKLIST] 9 Cybersecurity Questions to Ask When Choosing a Dispute Support Service Provider
For law firms looking to innovate, it is important to explore options for applying AI throughout the legal profession: Currently, AI is widely exploited in various ways:
- Legal research: Companies such as LexisNexis or WestLaw leverage AI to help attorneys easily search thousands of case law cases.
- Electronic Discovery: According to ABAe-discovery was the first use case for AI in the legal industry.
- Automatic translations: Machine translation technology uses artificial intelligence to automatically translate documents in record time and at a fraction of the cost of other methodologies.
- Transcription: The legal industry is one where a “paper trail” is always needed. Artificial intelligence technologies can help transcribe court proceedings, body camera footage, phone calls and more into evidence needed for litigation.
While the legal profession may be historically slow to embrace new technologies, AI is the way of the future. A recent 2021 Gartner report estimates that artificial intelligence will generate $2.9 trillion (about $8,900 per person in the United States) in business value and increase 6.2 million hours of productivity in one year. Mori Kabiri for Forbes writes: “As the legal department explores these technologies and is more exposed to the capabilities, professionals will realize the true purpose of a technology like AI. AI algorithms are not here to to replace lawyers but for equip give them the tools to automate daily repetitive tasks so they can focus more on specialized tasks that require their creativity and intelligence.
As the industry stabilizes after the technological changes necessary for remote working, the adoption of AI will only continue to increase.
Once a paper-heavy business, law firms now want every part of the legal process digitized and automated. Digitizing these services will only become more imperative as remote working continues indefinitely, and there’s a silver lining to potentially heavy lifting: the same 2021 Gartner report mentioned above estimates that automation will reduce IT and operations costs by 30%.
The good news is that with legal assistance in the United States, almost every aspect of our core businesses involves a digital component through our unique client portal. From requesting a court reporter to retrieving records, these services can be ordered, managed and tracked (with final items delivered) through our 24/7 customer portal, which is both SOC 2 Type 2 and HIPAA compliant.