How technology is redefining the role of lawyers

Contract Automation Platform Juro CEO and Founder Richard Mabey writes about the importance of Legaltech – for both lawyers and their clients.

Law is not a sector often associated with risk taking and innovation. Outside of American court drama, the profession has a reputation for being stubborn, hard-headed, and conservative.

And rightly so. Lawyers depend on being reliable. Their pride is in their consistency, skill and experience without the perceived “lint” of marketing.

As a result, the industry has settled into processes and procedures that are just about good enough. In-house attorneys are typically valued for their expertise, not their efficiency, with inevitable consequences, for better and for worse. Legal decisions can have serious consequences; the expectation is that they cannot be rushed.

But as the pandemic has forced even the most unlikely sectors to go digital, the law is now also undergoing a kind of transformation. For the first time at such a pace and scale, attorneys for both in-house and private practices are turning to technology to radically transform the way they work.

Social media is a way for attorneys to modernize their practices and find new clients. In recent years, we’ve witnessed the growth of Legal TikTok as professionals look for new ways to generate leads online. In 2012, a good lawyer could have amassed a following of a few hundred potential clients and other lawyers in a six-month period on Twitter. In 2022, a good video can reach a million strangers overnight who are already engaging with the topic.

Julio Oyhanarte is a perfect example. With over 2.5 million followers on TikTok, the US-based immigration attorney has quickly created an online space to showcase his knowledge and expertise with informative videos on American immigration policy. Today, Oyhanarte works with his own admissions team – more typical of the innovative business world – to handle the influx of inquiries he receives. Digitization has enabled the lawyer to cast the widest possible net and capture the most relevant leads.

The pandemic has shown us for the first time the possibility of working relationships built over distance. He then emphasized the importance of proximity. In addition to using technology to promote themselves, today’s lawyers are looking for ways to spend more time with their clients. This has created a demand for Legaltech solutions that automate cumbersome processes and make efficiency a priority for in-house and outside counsel.

In-house lawyers now spend an average of 600 hours a year manually sorting through administrative tasks. As the value of in-person (or at least face-to-face via Zoom) contact hours becomes more self-evident, tech solutions are adapting to speed processes and free up time for attorneys to work through complex challenges with their peers. Proofreading, for example, is a delicate and necessary task — but one that benefits greatly from automation.

In recent years, Grammarly has become the indispensable tool for everyone from columnists to students, but the legal sector has been slow to break with tradition. 58% of in-house attorneys still negotiate confidential contracts in Microsoft Word, leading to an awkward dance as complex documents are emailed back and forth and slowly corrupted by data lost through tracked changes. Lawyers are slowly beginning to see the value of contract automation, repurchasing valuable hours to spend with clients, streamlining processes through frictionless workflows and templates.

Juro logo

In the last 12 months alone, Juro has helped companies close 400,000 contracts with contract automation technology, speeding up processes and saving customers millions of hours. As the world of work changes, frictionless and accessible solutions will be at the heart of industry innovation, allowing lawyers to prioritize tasks that make the most of their expertise.

Technology is not a threat to the legal profession, it is an addition. Automation isn’t meant to replace lawyers, but to help them make the most of their time — whether that’s spending more time with clients or posting on TikTok if that’s the growth driver for them.

The last two years, lawyers have shown the potential of technology to take existing processes and make them faster and more efficient. The process of finding individual customers has been enhanced with a social media feature that can find hundreds of thousands of relevant leads in seconds. The process of spending hours creating and searching through documents has been improved with technology that continually learns from the mistakes attorneys love to report.

The future is bright. Technology is helping the legal profession break free from the chains of inefficiency and free up more time for the important things. That can only be good for lawyers and good for clients. How technology is redefining the role of lawyers

Fry Electronics Team

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