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How Legal Software has Changed During the Last 10 Years

How Legal Software has Changed During the Last 10 Years

Between 2010 and the present day, technology and software have evolved at a lightning pace with many industries playing catch-up. Lawyers are gradually accepting that software is not going to replace them but has the potential to boost their skillset and productivity. One of the biggest changes is that the legal software landscape used to be dominated by just a handful of big companies, but the past decade has seen a lot of startups make their mark leading to aggressive development and competition. Here are some key examples of how legal software has changed during the last 10 years. 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is still in its infancy in many ways, but the field has moved on at an incredible rate in recent years. At the beginning of the decade, the major player in legal research software was WestlawNext which made legal research simple. It was based on a machine learning algorithm which delivered better search results and, while it was a trailblazer at the time, there are now lots of companies offering products to rival it.

For example, Casetext by CARA was launched in 2016 as the first software which could analyse an uploaded brief and find relevant cases which the brief had missed. This was followed with EVA from ROSS Intelligence, Vincent from vLex, and Clerk from Judicata. AI is now used in legal research, reviewing contracts, litigation, e-billing and e-discovery. 

Embracing the Cloud and Mobile Technology

The cloud has been a controversial topic for lawyers since its inception, mainly because of the worries around privacy, ethics, and cybersecurity risks. In fact, even today many legal firms still do not put some information on the cloud, preferring on-premises hardware as storage. However, with the rise in mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets, lawyers need to be able to access their documents and communicate with clients securely when not physically in the office. 

Practice Management Software

At the start of the decade, most law firms were still resistant to the idea of using technology on a day to day basis, but today it has become so routine that it is hard to imagine running a law firm without it. From the early iterations of desktop versions to modern cloud-based practice management software, it helps legal firms to save money and time, guiding users through every stage of the legal process, e.g. writing letters, completing forms, sending invoices, managing appointments. Visit redbricksolutions.co.uk for more information on practice management software. 

Ethics Under the Spotlight

The legal profession has faced greater scrutiny than ever before in terms of regulation and ethical practices. Technology and the internet meant that lawyers now needed to ensure their professional and ethical conduct reached the necessary standard. In some states it is now mandatory that lawyers attend regular training in technology and ethics. 

An example of the battle between software and ethics can be seen in the story of Avvo. Originally, Avvo software rated lawyers for quality, but this was followed by Avvo Advisor in 2014 which provided on-demand, fixed-cost legal advice by phone within 15 minutes. This later became Avvo Legal Services which provided a range of fixed fee legal services. Avvo was charging lawyers a fee for sending them cases, but this was deemed unethical and Avvo fought so many lawsuits that it eventually stopped offering the service. 

Social/Professional Networking

The internet had already driven a surge in international communication in all industries, but for the legal industry this was particularly important. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter all launched by 2007, but it was not until a few years later that lawyers started to use them professionally, e.g. for recruitment. In 2010, only 17% of legal firms had a presence on any social network. 

By 2013, 59% of legal firms had a social media presence on LinkedIn and/or Facebook and in 2019, 80% of firms had a presence on social media. Social media enables legal professionals from all over the world to engage with their peers, explore the legal issues we face regardless of geographic location and reach solutions for the betterment of our global society.

Between 2010 and the present day, technology and software have evolved at a lightning pace with many industries playing catch-up. Lawyers are gradually accepting that software is not going to replace them but has the potential to boost their skillset and productivity. One of the biggest changes is that the legal software landscape used to be dominated by just a handful of big companies, but the past decade has seen a lot of startups make their mark leading to aggressive development and competition. Here are some key examples of how legal software has changed during the last 10 years. 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is still in its infancy in many ways, but the field has moved on at an incredible rate in recent years. At the beginning of the decade, the major player in legal research software was WestlawNext which made legal research simple. It was based on a machine learning algorithm which delivered better search results and, while it was a trailblazer at the time, there are now lots of companies offering products to rival it.

For example, Casetext by CARA was launched in 2016 as the first software which could analyse an uploaded brief and find relevant cases which the brief had missed. This was followed with EVA from ROSS Intelligence, Vincent from vLex, and Clerk from Judicata. AI is now used in legal research, reviewing contracts, litigation, e-billing and e-discovery. 

Embracing the Cloud and Mobile Technology

The cloud has been a controversial topic for lawyers since its inception, mainly because of the worries around privacy, ethics, and cybersecurity risks. In fact, even today many legal firms still do not put some information on the cloud, preferring on-premises hardware as storage. However, with the rise in mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets, lawyers need to be able to access their documents and communicate with clients securely when not physically in the office. 

Practice Management Software

At the start of the decade, most law firms were still resistant to the idea of using technology on a day to day basis, but today it has become so routine that it is hard to imagine running a law firm without it. From the early iterations of desktop versions to modern cloud-based practice management software, it helps legal firms to save money and time, guiding users through every stage of the legal process, e.g. writing letters, completing forms, sending invoices, managing appointments. Visit redbricksolutions.co.uk for more information on practice management software. 

Ethics Under the Spotlight

The legal profession has faced greater scrutiny than ever before in terms of regulation and ethical practices. Technology and the internet meant that lawyers now needed to ensure their professional and ethical conduct reached the necessary standard. In some states it is now mandatory that lawyers attend regular training in technology and ethics. 

An example of the battle between software and ethics can be seen in the story of Avvo. Originally, Avvo software rated lawyers for quality, but this was followed by Avvo Advisor in 2014 which provided on-demand, fixed-cost legal advice by phone within 15 minutes. This later became Avvo Legal Services which provided a range of fixed fee legal services. Avvo was charging lawyers a fee for sending them cases, but this was deemed unethical and Avvo fought so many lawsuits that it eventually stopped offering the service. 

Social/Professional Networking

The internet had already driven a surge in international communication in all industries, but for the legal industry this was particularly important. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter all launched by 2007, but it was not until a few years later that lawyers started to use them professionally, e.g. for recruitment. In 2010, only 17% of legal firms had a presence on any social network. 

By 2013, 59% of legal firms had a social media presence on LinkedIn and/or Facebook and in 2019, 80% of firms had a presence on social media. Social media enables legal professionals from all over the world to engage with their peers, explore the legal issues we face regardless of geographic location and reach solutions for the betterment of our global society.

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