Technological innovation has undeniably defined the last three generations. The breakneck pace of industrial and commercial development has changed the face of the world, and enabled seismic shifts in a number of industries. Law, though, is one of the last to shift – at least, from the perspective of the courts. Legal firms are adopting technology handily at present, but in what way? And what does the future hold?
The Changing Landscape of Legal Practice
The legal landscape is, undeniably, shifting; however, the shifts that law firms and legislators alike are experiencing are not entirely anticipated. Technological revolution has been inevitable since the turn of the 21st century, but the rate of change has been difficult to predict – alongside the specific inventions which have forever altered our cultural and societal trajectories.
The field of law is a notoriously slow-moving one, on account of its sheer depth and breadth. With new laws taking an incredibly long time to draw up reasonably and comprehensively, new technologies are often several steps ahead. Law firms, set in specific administrative and legal processes, are also uniquely averse to technological innovation – at least, until now.
Today, technology has become an integral part of legal work for firms that deal with both civil and criminal courts, as new innovations help with everything from data entry and secure data sharing to compensation assessments and case-building.
The Complexity of Case Assessments
Whether high-profile business disputes or seemingly open-and-shut civil liability cases, the endeavour of assessing the potential value in a given case is not a simple one. There are a great many variables to consider, each of which contribute to a larger multi-faceted equation regarding how much could be awarded in compensation by a judge – a figure which itself needs to be carefully weighed against the cost of bringing a case to court, the legal costs accrued by either party, and the potential for pre-court settlement.
With personal injury cases, there are precedents that can help slim that equation a little. Basic calculators can be drawn up from the results of prior cases, matching specific injuries and recovery times to court or settlement results and producing an average ‘value’ for each case. These calculators exist, but are only the bottom floor of a new technological era for civil claims.
Technology and Case Management
The swift advancement of machine learning technology has facilitated a new, exponential explosion of AI experimentation and implementation. Smart tools are getting smarter, and law firms have spied unique routes to improving processes and case management.
AI tools trained on prior case result data can provide more accurate numbers with regard to reasonable compensation claims or damages calculations, for one; meanwhile, language models like ChatGPT demonstrate the possibility of using AI chatbots to steer early conversations and information-gathering before in-person consultations. As administrative workload continues to get handed off to AI tools, law firms can accelerate processes and more effectively reach settlements for clients.