1st April is celebrated as the National Legal Technology Day in the United States of America to celebrate and promote the use of technology to revolutionize legal service with a mission of promoting technology among the legal community. But, on the day of 1st April 2016, a surprise call to Robert J. Ambrogi the editor of SCOTUS Blog to publish a guest post on Legal Technology. It took Ambrogi by surprise and he expressed immense excitement for this incident.
“I certainly never imagined that I would get a call from the White House. But when he wanted a platform through which to speak about legal technology, I am honored that he chose this blog. And what better day to publish his guest post than April 1, National Legal Technology Day. “
The reason why this blog post was overwhelming was that it was not for the first time Obama was talking or taking interest in the legal profession, he and his wife Michelle both are alumni of Harvard Law School. So basically this post was not coming from just the President but also a former Harvard Alumni and an industry expert who had server the profession for quite some time. Not only that, apart from being the first Black President of the United States Of America, Barack Obama was also the first black President-Elect of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. This shows how deeply rooted Obama was in the legal profession.
In SCOTUS Blog’s post, Obama talks about the adoption of various practice management software and other tools which are widely used across the legal industry. However, he highlights the slow adoption of technology by the lawyers and how the Obama administration was planning to ensure more adoption.
“Look, in the year 2016, this is unacceptable. As a nation, we must expect more of the legal profession and more of legal technology. This isn’t just about having the latest whiz-bang toys. It’s about driving our economy. It’s about protecting our citizens. It’s about preserving our status as a nation of laws.”
From providing tax-cuts to high-speed internet Obama highlighted the major steps that his administration was taking to ensure the adoption and usage of technologies by lawyers. He also announced setting up a special commission for legal-tech headed by the then Vice-President Joe Biden to implement these reforms.
“I have asked Vice President Joe Biden to help lead lawyers into the future. I am asking him to chair a special commission on the future of legal technology and to develop specific policies and recommendations, both for the remainder of my presidency and for future generations.”
In the final motivational lines, he expressed positivity and highlighted that lawyers must make technology work for them, and they should not be afraid of it. Taking into account his experiences while interacting with lawyers, he wrote that even in 2016 lawyers have not upgraded, like other industries legal sector must be open to innovate and explore.
“Here’s the thing. Lawyers need to make technology work for them, not against them. With grit and determination, they can do that. They’re already starting to make progress. But we’ve got to build on that progress now, while the economy is still growing.
You can’t tell me that we can’t find the wherewithal to achieve greatness in legal technology. We have to give every lawyer, every day, the shot at the success he or she deserves. If our nation’s lawyers are going to remain strong and competitive well into the 21st century, it is time that we as a nation make legal technology a top priority. Together, we can.”
The post was motivating and positive, but what followed was extraordinary, more and more law-firms started to embrace the use of technology for various tasks, from legal research to e-discovery the adoption of Artificial Intelligence and Analytics boomed the US legal services industries with more useful tools and even the courts and judiciary also embraced the use.
A brief on the latest trends could be put as follows-
1. The legal tech market constitutes 2.6% of the total legal service market share. The one that will be worth USD 1,011 Bn by next year.
2. More than 700 legal tech startups have entered the market, though belonging to different domains, i,e, eDiscovery, Online legal services, Lawyer search, Legal research, AI legal tech software, and Practice management software.
3. As per 2019 Global Legal Department Benchmarking Report, the adoption of technology in different legal areas has also increased by significant values.
4. The total investment in the legal tech market recorded in 2019 was around USD 1.2 Bn and is expected to increase considerably this year with virtual law offices and digital courtroom being the need of the hour due to global pandemic.
5. Cloud adoption in the legal industry increases by 20% annually; indicating that lawyers are understanding the essence of replacing paper-based documents with digital ones.
Such numbers have swayed law professionals across the globe and made them interested in investing in legal firm software development, get familiar with legal tech future trends, and eventually, build a business plan.
The emergence of new startups and big tech players in this industry is giving rise to more investments and acquisitions. But this is an indication that over the next few years the adoption, development, and usage of technology in law will be significantly high.