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Legal tech prognosticators on the future of the industry 2020

Technology for Lawyers

Published: February 28, 2020

There was a time, not so long ago, when there were very few of us writing about legal tech. In fact, legal technology wasn’t even a thing until fairly recently. In fact, this column is called “Technology for Lawyers” because we considered the term “legal technology” too esoteric for our readership. I kinda miss those days, but, anyway….
Side note: the first legal tech blog I ever saw came from Akron: Pho’s Akron Pages talked about Steve Piepho’s home life with a little legal tech thrown in. We met and talked and then I was invited to start this column (not him I took it and ran with it). That was over 20 years ago. Steve, obviously, later became a colleague of mine at the Legal News.
Now, there are plenty of legal technology writers, many of whom are really good and inspire me personally. Today, the consulting company Aderant published a sort of Top 20 list of the future of the legal tech market from 20 current writers in the field. Here are a few.
In general, clients are going to exert more control over their relationships with the firm. This is line with firms being forced to consider themselves as normal businesses. Predictions include more client input in pricing, process improvement, case forwarding as project management—which includes improved client portals, more transparency, and more hands-on client collaboration. You know, just like a business.
Products and platforms that lawyers have resisted will come to the fore—both in deployment and in funding. Lawyers will start funding more legal tech. They will also grow more comfortable with AI, predictive legal analytics, virtual assistants, automation and machine learning (and I would add little things like RPA processes for repetitive office functions). This is being called “embankment.”
Lawyers will throw money at solutions willy-nilly with little focus or discipline. Anybody in an emerging legal tech startup should like that one.
AI will also focus huge data sets into actions, tech will be simplified, and law firms figure out how to scale.
The article mentions that new ideas in California may lead to non-lawyers using technology to give legal advice. Robot lawyers. Yes. The stuff of dreams.
Here’s the article: https://www.aderant.com/think-tank/legal-tech-predictions-2020/. Worth a read.