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Weekly legal tech news – April 27, 2020

Legal tech news ask which are the biggest challenges lawyers are facing now? From adjusting to virtual court trials, to dealing with uncertainty effectively and the overwhelming amount of information and technology. Discover more in this week’s legal tech news summary.

Attorneys from all over the world are being kept away from courtrooms nationwide, so they need to adjust on the fly. In the US, courts across the country have ordered oral arguments to be conducted remotely because of the coronavirus outbreak, using video, phone conferencing, and other technologies. With so much more at stake than during a routine staff meeting, attorneys are anxious about arguing from their home offices. In the midst of logistical challenges, attorneys are discovering new workarounds and other tricks to keep up with litigation demands that continue unabated. They are simulating courtroom settings, developing newfound appreciation for colleagues who can slip you notes, and brainstorming to minimize little hiccups—like pixelated video and rustling paper sounds. Read more on simulating courtrooms in this article.

In a more distributed, yet interconnected world, the notion of the court system as a physical entity continues to diminish. Perhaps a virtual court has a further global reach than a brick-and-mortar facility, but this emerging reality quoted by the legal tech news also brings serious questions. This includes questions around the role of a primary court figure – the lawyer – and whether new technologies like artificial intelligence, diminish the role of the lawyer, or simply force an evolutionary progression towards new services and new revenue opportunities. The annual spending on legal technology has more than quadrupled and the financial growth provided fertile grounds for legal technology vendors and forced law firms to compete using technology as a competitive differentiator. This drive amplifies the Red Queen Effect: the notion that law firms (and any business for that matter) must constantly adapt to survive, and vendors likewise compete through innovation. What this means for law firms and legal professionals, discover on HL Record.

During the current crisis, we’re all learning to deal in our own ways with uncertainty, legal tech news note. Dealing with uncertainty effectively is a skill especially worth perfecting for lawyers. And it is especially critical for in-house lawyers, whose decisions have a direct impact on business and their ability to weather turbulence and change of all kinds. When change or uncertainty strikes –- and as the saying goes: the only certainty is uncertainty –- it is in-house lawyers who are on the front lines. Find out more details on Above the Law.

“What is the biggest barrier to adopting new legal technology in your firm?” is the question Law Times asked its readers. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said that “members of firm complain or refuse to adopt new systems.” Another nearly 29 percent of responses said that the firm was “overwhelmed by the prospect of transferring data to a new system”. A separate survey of 150 lawyers in Canada last year found that “aside from legal knowledge, practice area expertise and technology skills are the two most important criteria to employers when hiring lawyers.” Yet, as the Financial Times noted last fall, “lawyers now recognize that the sector has to change, and fast, but the problem now is too much technology”. Discover more details about this on Law Times News.


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