Law in the current digital age has become a dynamic, rapidly evolving field. This digital age has impacted not only the field of law, but also medicine, politics, education, and law enforcement.
Technology has changed virtually all aspects of daily life. However, one field that has stayed relatively untouched up until this point is the practice of law. Numerous technological advancements have been made in this field, but technology often only causes slight alterations as opposed to a complete overhaul.
However, as more and more people become technologically savvy and adopt new technologies into their lives rapidly, the legal system is bound to change if it does not want to fall behind.
So, what is the current state of the law in the digital age? How is technology impacting law practices? Legal scholars are using technology to improve their curriculum and teaching methods, focusing on two examples: online classes and virtual classrooms.
Read on to learn more about digital law in lawyers’ communication, digital litigation, and how the field of law is likely to be impacted by technology in the future.
Law and Technology
The practice of law is a career that consists of applying legal principles to specific cases.
When looking at the practice of law, it is important to note that legal principles are constantly changing. This is why the law is one of the most dynamic fields in modern society.
However, the field of law used to be a hit the books in the law library kind of field. You search volumes to find the resources.
Technology has completely revolutionized the practice of law with how lawyers seek information and how they disseminate it too. Technology has improved accessibility and a law firm’s ability to provide legal services.
Let’s take a closer look at how technology is impacting the practice of law.
Law and electronic discovery, sometimes referred to as e-discovery, identify and produce electronic data that may be relevant to a pending civil action or criminal investigation.
In the past, attorneys who wanted to examine digital evidence had to rely on several different methods. One method was the image processing of computers, but this process could prove to be time-consuming and produce lower quality results. Another way to examine digital data was by extracting data from computer networks that may have been used in the case.
Now attorneys can do eDiscovery by means of:
- Mobile devices
- Database archives
- IoT devices
Now attorneys can even use eDiscovery automation software to help streamline the process of gathering digital evidence.
Depositions for lawyers were likely previously held in a conference room with witnesses, lawyers, video, and court reporters present.
Now it’s become pretty common practice to hold a deposition via a digital platform, especially as social distancing requirements increased.
Parties for a deposition can all meet together and be present online without having to be in the same physical space.
Law in a digital age is now possible with real-time communication through a variety of web conferencing platforms. This allows lawyers, clients, witnesses, and even the court to share screens, video chat, or do presentations from the comfort of their office space. Many offer high-definition video and audio calls with no lag time.
Virtual Hearings and Trials
Virtual hearings and trials are now done through technology and are the main way of conducting hearings especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While many law offices and courts shut down, some were able to open back up by taking advantage of web conferencing software.
Virtual options allowed the legal system to continue to function in spite of the pandemic. Lawyers could meet with clients for prep. Lawyers could attend court hearings and proceedings all done virtually.
Virtual options even allow lawyers to have meeting rooms separate from a hearing if they need to confer with a client or witness.
Other technologies that are being introduced into law include 3D printing, electronic discovery software, and even robots that can help with document review.
More and more lawyers are taking advantage of artificial intelligence (AI). AI is being used on legal websites to greet website visitors and provide assistance.
Another service that web conference platforms can perform is digital/remote notarization. This allows clients to get expedited and streamlined notary processes from the comfort of their office.
Now, notaries can do things like remotely notarize a power of attorney or a lease agreement via their webcam and the web conference software. Clients do not have to travel to a physical location to complete these transactions.
Another benefit is that notaries can now work from home and provide services.
Lawyers who need documents notarized to be submitted to the court no longer need to meet clients in person for signatures or notarizing. It can be done through digital platforms to get the needed signatures.
Law In The Digital Age
There’s no doubt that technology is impacting everyday life in profound ways. It’s also changing the way lawyers can do their work. Often the digital options available to law offices help to streamline their work and make it more efficient for their clients too.
Law in the digital age is much different than law before technology. However, lawyers still need to abide by the same legal standards that have driven their profession for decades.
If you need the assistance of a lawyer, we can help. Contact us today so we can get started helping you with your legal problem.