How The Internet Changed The Practice Of Law
The legal industry has been traditional and conservative in nature,
therefore, it was slow to adapt digital technologies. Twenty years ago, the
internet's full potential could not even be imagined. Many legal professionals
were not well versed in technology and may be hesitant to adopt new tools and
processes. Today, potential clients are educated and have access to more legal
information than they could possibly consume.
Traditionally, a client would make an appointment to come in and see a lawyer in
order to gain access to legal information and to decide whether they wanted to
retain such attorney. Today, website biographies, online reviews and ratings,
blogs, social media accounts, and other digital outlets offer no shortage of
opportunities for lawyers to publish content.
Technology can help lawyer to be more productive by automating administrative
tasks such as document management and project scheduling. It also enable lawyers
to quickly search through mountains of information to find relevant case law or
precedent. Through the development of e-courts, it had become easily accessible
to the lawyers to analyze the updates and case numbers of their cases.
Technology can play an important role in reducing waiting times and costs while
enhancing productivity. There are various technological tools that have changed
the process, like contract management, legal research and black-end processes
for the better. Some of the latest trends in the legal industry with respect to
technology are automation, artificial intelligence, voice technology and virtual
Speed is one of the main positive impact of internet on law. What used to take a
week in a case now takes a matter of hours. Twenty years ago, a client and
attorney would put together a settlement demand, drafting various forms of a
demand letter until both were satisfied with the contents. This could happen
over a series of days. A letter would be written and put in the mail. It would
arrive on the other attorney's desk and they would take some time to review it,
speak with their client, formulate a response, and another letter would be put
in the mail.
Today, a settlement demand is usually sent via email. It arrives in the
attorney's inbox and it is expected that the email will be forwarded within
hours, often with notes and comments. The client will see the demand letter hit
their email and will immediately open it and will likely want to communicate in
some form with their attorney within a matter of hours, if not, minutes.
As access to traditional legal services have become increasingly expensive,
consumers have turns towards online services to provide them free legal advice,
access to forms and general guidance on the law with enough information so they
feel they can manage to finish whatever they need themselves. Online platforms
and collaborative tools provide opportunities for legal professionals to
connect, share knowledge, and collaborate on research projects.
Discussion forums, virtual conferences, and social networks enable legal
scholars and practitioners to engage in scholarly debates, exchange ideas, and
contribute to the collective legal knowledge. Collaboration among legal
professionals fosters innovation, facilitates peer review, and promotes the
dissemination of new legal research findings.
Online legal databases and platforms play a vital role in modern legal research,
providing a wealth of legal information and resources. These platforms offer
extensive collections of case law, statutes, regulations, legal opinions, and
secondary sources, making it easier for researchers to access a wide range of
legal materials from a single online location. Online legal databases provide
advanced search functionalities, allowing researchers to conduct keyword-based
searches, filter results based on specific criteria, and narrow down their
These databases often include tools for cross-referencing, citation tracking,
and document management, aiding researchers in efficiently organizing and citing
legal sources. Legal professionals can access online legal databases and
platforms from anywhere with an internet connection, eliminating the need for
physical visits to libraries or courthouses.
Some online platforms also offer collaborative features, enabling researchers to
share insights, annotations, and research findings with colleagues and
collaborators. These platforms often provide regular updates and notifications
regarding new cases, legislative changes, and legal developments.
There are several other ways the internet has changed the practice of law:
online attorney reviews, targeted social media advertising, electronic
discovery, online client portals, mobile practice capabilities, artificial
intelligence, cloud-based computing, and security compliance and threats, just
to name a few. The internet has revolutionized the industry and will continue to
transform the practice in ways that we still cannot imagine.
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