Home Ch.1 - Automating the Practice Technology and Law Practice Trends
PDF Print E-mail

Chapter 1 - The Necessity for Automating the Practice of Law

Technology and Law Practice Trends

Without a doubt, the information and communication revolution is having a significant impact on the practice of law. Already we are seeing many practitioners from across the country implement technology solutions in their practices. They are taking advantage of these efficiencies to practice law faster, from anywhere and for less cost. Where are we headed? What is in store for the immediate future, as the digital practice of law becomes a reality? The following are some of the trends that are developing in the practice of law. As you can see most of these are fueled by the Internet, wireless communication and the conversion of paper and other analog materials into a digital format.


  • Client collaboration - Many firms are already collaborating with their clients using group computing, Extranets, videoconferencing, and other technology tools. Sharing and managing case information is becoming a real-time interactive process between firms and their clients. Clients are expecting immediacy of response using e-mail, cellular phones, pagers and other communication devices.
  • Client brokering for legal services - Since the Internet is creating borderless interaction, clients are retaining lawyers from all over the globe based on the best service and price. Clients are implementing technologies in their businesses and expect outside counsel to mirror their efforts.
  • Unbundling of legal services - clients are increasingly asking lawyers to handle only a certain part of a legal problem, with the client handling other parts.


  • Globalization - Physical borders no longer limit law firms in having clients throughout the world. Today the technology revolution in computing and telecommunications is dismantling the formidable barriers of physical location, time zones and local, regional and national borders. It is reshaping the way we work and live.
  • Small boutique firms – By using outsourcing, contract attorneys, the Internet and technology small firms are challenging areas of practice and litigation normally reserved for large firms.
  • Multidisciplinary Practices (MDP’s) – Accounting firms, business consultants and lawyers are providing a variety of comprehensive business, electronic and legal services for clients.
  • Kiosks and web sites - Self-help kiosks and web sites are starting to proliferate as routine, fairly easy legal tasks are automated.
  • Numbers of lawyers - The increase in lawyers will continue as law schools continue to graduate record numbers of attorneys.
  • Nonlawyers - Paralegals and document preparers will continue to service clients with lower fees.


  • Virtual law firm and the mobile attorney - the Internet, networking, application service providers (ASP’s), wireless communications and the downsizing of computers support the lawyer practicing from any physical location at anytime.
  • Constant learning - lawyers will have to constantly learn how to use the new technologies in an effective, productive manner.
  • Quality of life - issues concerning a balanced lifestyle will increase as technology allows one to work more efficiently, but also from any location and anytime.
  • Contract lawyers – Lawyers will have the option of choosing to work as a “free agent”, networking with other lawyers.

Law Firm

  • New Fee setting methods - The firm has to address client pressure to use different fee methods, other than the traditional billable hour, while utilizing cost saving technology.
  • Technology leverage - There are significant technology advances that the firm will have to implement to stay competitive. For example, Intranets, and Extranets will become commonplace, as well as real-time collaboration with your clients over the Internet.
  • Shared knowledge/intellectual capital - The firm’s “knowledge” will be recognized and the need to capture and share the knowledge within the firm and with clients will enhance the value of the firm. Document assembly, expert systems, workproduct management, and best practices will become increasingly important.
  • Mobile attorney – The firm will have to address the issues raised by telecommuting and how to support the mobile attorney.
  • Content tools – Document assembly, document management, knowledge management, expert systems, and artificial intelligence will increase in use as powerful information technology (IT) tools enable immediate and controlled access to work product and knowledge of firm.
  • Case management – PIMS, group computing systems, extranets, intranets, and application service providers (ASP) will grow in importance as we manage our cases and enable clients and others to interconnect with our networked systems in a secure environment.


  • Internet - As the wide bandwidth infrastructure is put into place, the Internet will become the dominant communication media in the legal system. The Internet will bring together the delivery platform for data, information and knowledge that will be delivered to the attorney without the necessity of significant training, computers or other computing obstacles. Security and ease-of-use features will improve and application service providers will deliver many of the law firm functions such as litigation depositories and case management directly over the Internet.
  • Paperless, borderless communication - E-mail, videoconferencing, digital documents, electronic filing will all support the paperless, borderless practice of law.
  • Computing appliances - Computers are becoming more powerful and smaller in size. Use of voice recognition, wireless handheld pcs, and multifunctional computer devices will continue to grow and provide an advantage to the wired attorney. You will be able to access your case files, court files or any other information through various wire and wireless appliances.


  • Digital presentation - paperless trials, slideshow presentations, animations, simulations, and graphics will increase is use because of the saving of time and money, it will increase factfinder understanding, and will assist in simplifying complex issues.
  • Case preparation - document depositories, outliners, databases, full text, images, and real-time transcription will provide for instant and real-time access to case information from anywhere and anytime.

 © 2008 - 2009 Law Partner Publishing, LLC   All Rights Reserved



Find Legal Software


eDiscovery Alerts

Click here to sign up for ediscovery e-mail alerts that provide news on the latest electronic discovery and evidence issues.