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The Law Society urges firms to embrace automation

Posted by: Laurence Simons 30/01/17
While the legal sector, somewhat infamous for its historical adversity to change, has certainly made significant progress in terms of adopting innovative technologies, a new report from The Law Society suggests they must also embrace automation if they are to remain competitive and relevant in the modern legal marketplace.

The report ‘Capturing Technological Innovation in Legal Services’, stresses throughout that legal technologies such as AI and contract management software should act as enablers in the modern legal workplace, and not as alternatives. The report’s author, Dr Tara Chittenden, stresses that existing technologies should be used by firms to foster innovation, and shouldn’t be relied upon entirely, saying; “Technology by itself will not bring innovation to a firm. What will is a better understanding of business issues and the points where technology and business come together, and how that can be better understood and developed.” This seems to be the most sensible approach, similar to that advocated in the blog we published from Ebony Ezekwesili last year.

The report highlights the disjointed nature of the legal technologies marketplace noting “the legal innovation landscape is still highly fragmented, and many of these start-ups offer solutions to very specific, singular problems.” This further highlights the need for law firms to use legal technologies as a platform for innovation, and as a model to develop their own systems which better suit the needs of their individual practice.

However, the report also notes that for all of the technological machine learning, automation and Virtual Assistant possibilities and efficiencies, collectively, professionals are adamant that legal services must not lose the human touch. Indeed, while it is crucial that law firms embrace technologies to improve efficiencies, such programmes should augment the skills and expertise of legal professionals rather than replace them.
Tagged In: Technology
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