How Legal Technology and NewLaw Are Changing The Way Law Firms Provide Legal Services
Legal Technology is the newest revolution in the legal industry. As a part of the 'NewLaw' movement, legal technology changes the way lawyers and law firms provide legal services.
NewLaw and Legal Technology are a new approach to the way legal services are delivered to clients. Before this new wave, firms lent themselves to the BigLaw approach, which was characterised by massive law firms that charge premium prices for services. In this model, lawyers come from ‘top’ law schools and focus on generating as many billable hours as possible. This why the rewards are also great; lawyers work so much they end up earning a lot of money.
NewLaw got its name and picked up momentum 5-6 years ago but the idea has been around since the 90s. The NewLaw approach is very different compared to its predecessor. NewLaw changes the way law firms provide legal services by:
- Using legal technology to make the law cheaper and easier to access
- Introducing flexible work hours for lawyers
- Implementing alternative fee arrangements
As a result of these fundamental changes, legal services become client-focused. It will no longer be the norm to pay $600/h a visit to the lawyer’s office. Instead, getting legal advice will be like booking a taxi on your phone. You’ll submit a request online stating your legal needs. The next available lawyer who specialises in the area will submit a quote for the work and you either accept or reject. Its a marketplace for lawyers so clients can pick and choose who they want and within their budget.
Embracing Legal Technology
Technology allows us to be better, faster. Robots can easily replace human when doing repetitive tasks. They won’t ever feel bored or dissatisfied and never make a mistake. We can totally eliminate human error in basic tasks like entering names in a document and making sure all the fields are filled out. It can also help improve communication between teams and increase transparency in the firm.
One of the biggest concerns surrounding automation is whether or not there’ll be a need to hire human resources. This is where it’s important to remember that humans cannot be replaced in any line of work. Whether it be customer service, negotiating deals, marketing or building relationships with clients, humans will always be better than a machine. Embracing technology means humans will no longer have to do tedious, repetitive tasks and focus on being better at handling human interactions.
For a Law Firm, this means basic tasks like drafting a contract and searching through cases for precedent can be automated. Lawyers won’t be swamped with small, repetitive tasks no longer. No matter how much legal technology can do, we will always need a lawyer to interpret it for the client. They will be able to provide better, quicker services to their clients without reducing the quality of the work.
With respect to management and transparency, law firms will be better managed. There will be quicker and more efficient communication between employees. Lawyer fee will become cheaper and the calculations will become transparent.
Legal Technology and Its Uses For Small Businesses
The flexibility of NewLaw firms allows small business to have their legal queries answered without having to spend countless hours and resources.
As a small business, you shouldn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to have a lawyer draft an NDA or employment contract. Legal technology allows a small business to access templates of basic legal documents which they then fill out to make it personalised. Legal service providers like LawPath offer such templates to allow you to fulfill your legal needs with the click of a button.
However, if you have to obtain legal advice, legal technology can make the process much cheaper for clients. Alternative fee arrangments, like fixed-price quotes, means you’ll know exactly how much you’ll be paying before you engage the lawyer.
NewLaw firms and legal service providers will offer you the chance to connect with lawyers online. You won’t have to leave the comfort of your home to obtain legal advice. As a small business, this means you won’t have to set aside half your day to go the lawyer. All your communication can be done online, giving you more time to work on your business.
Benefits of Legal Technology for Lawyers
Legal technology allows lawyers greater flexibility in the way they provide legal services.
- Embracing Legal Technology means lawyers will be able to provide legal services so long as they have a computer.
- Automation means lawyers won’t have to spend time doing administrative tasks that do not necessarily help them grow as a lawyer.
- Lawyers will focus on developing strong interpersonal skills in order to be a better lawyer as opposed to having strong research skills.
- There will be no pressure on lawyers to maximise billing hours and overwork themselves. This will allow lawyers to maintain a healthy lifestyle and mental health.
- Pregnant or post-partum mothers will still be able to work. They can pick and choose the briefs they would like to do based on their availability. That way, they won’t lose touch with the industry.
NewLaw is here to stay. This new way of providing legal services not only relieves stress for lawyers and improves their mental health, but also realigns legal services to be more client-focused. Simple tasks may even become fully automated so that lawyers can invest more time in complicated matters. Overall, Legal services will become cheaper under and as a result, more people will be able to access them- ultimately creating greater access to justice.
NewLaw gives law firms the chance to embrace the technology revolution and be more forward thinking. It will allow them to focus more on providing great customer service and ensuring there’s a strong relationship between the firm and its clients.
Don’t know where to start? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest legal marketplace.
Naga Vamaraju is a legal intern at Lawpath as a part of the Content Writing team. She is in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and Bachelor of Law Degree. She has a particular interest in the law surrounding starting and operating a business.