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Technology 'changing how lawyers work'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 07/03/14

One day soon, there won't be any more lawyers - they'll be replaced by hyper-intelligent operating systems, all voiced by the dulcet tones of Scarlett Johansson, which could be a little confusing.

Until that time comes, we need to make do with fallible, human legal advisors who do not speak like famously attractive actresses, which is obviously a shame. However, it is clear that technology is having a major impact on how lawyers carry out their role.

According to the Lawyer magazine, billing apps, crowdsourcing and social media are all affecting the legal profession in a host of ways.

One major area in which technology is a key player is billing - the controversy over transparency when it comes to fees has seen more in-house lawyers turn to computerised solutions to keep track of costs.

Innovation can also be improved by the judicious use of computers and IT - Taylor Wessing is currently attempting to drive 'blue sky' thinking within its organisation by allowing staff at all levels to submit product ideas via iPads stationed in tea zones.

"There's a need for more creative lawyers as more products come onto the market and that need is likely to grow," said London managing partner Tim Eyles when he launched the new scheme.

Baker & McKenzie UK managing partner Paul Rawlinson told the magazine that legal firms need to embrace technology for a number of reasons, not merely as a tool to carry out traditional tasks more quickly or for less expense.

"It enables them to do different things and, most interestingly, come to clients with insights into their business and market trends, and so demonstrate a better understanding of their needs," he explained.

While we might not have reached the Scarlett Johansson singularity just yet, more's the pity, it is clear that professional services firms such as legal organisations are no longer being left behind when it comes to tech trends.