The legal world is characterised by long hours of manual paperwork, research, and due diligence. With the introduction of no-code platforms, automation tools, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML), it is possible to deploy computers and software to automate clerical work and delegate time and effort into the principal legal practice.
The relationship between law and technology is that of the hare and the tortoise. While technology is racing at an ever-increasing pace, the law has only tried to catch up. Since no industry is an exception to the fourth industrial revolution (the digital revolution), the intersection of the legal sector with digitisation is called “Legal Tech”.
In 2019, the legal tech market generated revenues of over USD 17.32 billion worldwide, with incumbents generating USD 16.75 billion towards the total. The legal tech startup market, which generated USD 570 million in 2019, is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.82% for the period to 2025, with revenues set to reach USD 2.49 billion by the end of 2025.
In our previous blog we saw how a new skill set is demanded of each legal professional, and technology is one of the driving factors of this evolution. In this guide, we will look at one of the primary and fast-emerging legal industries, called ‘Legal Tech’.
What is Legal Tech?
Legal Tech (also called ‘Legal Technology’, ‘Law Tech’, or ‘Regulatory Tech’) is the automation of legal work through the use of technology, software, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML) to provide assistance and support to the legal industry. Legal tech is not only a tool for lawyers to digitise data and simplify administration and logistics, but it is also a tool to provide better, easy, cost, and time-effective justice.
While the terms ‘Legal Tech’ and ‘Law Tech’ are often used interchangeably, some lawyers draw a distinction between Legal tech and Law Tech. They opine that Legal Tech is software and technologies that serve the interests of the lawyers in streamlining their work. While Law Tech is used to cater to consumer needs (eg: legal chatbots, legal online marketplace, etc).
Classification of Legal Tech
A notable number of classifications exist in Legal Tech. Each of them attempts to differentiate the existing Legal Tech tools and services according to their utility.
The Bucerius Law School and Boston Consulting Group, divide Legal Tech into three categories:
- Enabler Technologies: Deal with digitizing Legal Data.
- Support Process Solutions: Deal with back-office, and clerical work such as accounting, human resources, etc.
- Substantive Law Technology: Deal with support solutions. These technologies do not provide administrative support, but substantive legal solutions.
The Stanford Legal Code Database provides a nine-fold classification. Which is:
|Marketplace||Document Automation||Practice Management|
|Legal Research||Legal Education||Online Dispute Resolution|
Why is Legal Tech beneficial?
Legal Tech can assist lawyers in research, time management, and faster processing that would result in fewer errors. For example, it can save time during the document review stage. To serve the interests of the legal clientele, it can reduce costs and provide transparency. It can further help in cross-team collaboration over the internet. Cloud technology and Blockchain have also made it possible to draft contracts easily, analyse large data, analyse and manage cases, and also provide effective cross-border legal education.
Law Schools around the world have been able to disrupt technology, especially during the COVID lockdown, in providing students with classes, resources, and eco-systems for tech-enabled education. Legal Tech can help law students in legal research and basic drafting. Staying aware and acquainted with latest developments in Legal Tech can help law students bridge the information gap that most law schools lay because of lack of practical exposure.
Do I need to learn coding to make use of Legal Tech?
Since many Law firms have now started focusing on automation and innovative solutions, a vast number of Legal Tech tools are being used across the industry. In such a case, the question of whether a law student should learn coding has arisen. The answer to this is two-fold. If one is willing to invest the time and effort, many free platforms over the internet offer coding courses. (Check out Free Code Camp, to learn coding step-by-step and also get yourself a certification. Other courses can be found on Udemy, Coursera, EdX, etc).
If time, cost, and effort are a constraint, no-code platforms can help you build applications without any prior knowledge of coding. These platforms have a simple drag-and-drop feature that allows you to choose your desired features of the application and simply place them on your screen. (No-code platforms you could check out: Neota Logic, Bryter)
Clients of Legal Services
Legal Tech can help law professionals meet the expectations of the client, which is driven by the more for less challenge and offers more transparency. The emergence of online marketplaces and legal chatbots has increased access to justice and legal services. Through these platforms, clients do not have to visit lawyers for the slightest of legal questions or disputes. Some firms and startups also provide documentation services, wherein basic contracts can be drafted by the clients themselves through pre-designed, customisable templates.
How can we use Legal Tech?
The following table captures the main contours of legal technology:
|Stakeholders||Category||Description||Popular Tools||Indian Startups|
|Legal Professionals||Practice Management||Tools that are a one-stop solution to law specific automation||Clio, HighQ, MyCase, CosmoLex, PracticePanther, Rocket Matter, Litera||ProVakil, myKase by Manupatra, Theo by CFCS, LegoDesk|
|Legal Research||Tools that can help gather material, precedents and also manage them.||Cara-Case Text, FastCase, Westlaw Edge (Thomas Reuters), Tracers, Lexis||LawFinderLive, AirInfoTech, Vakilsearch,Mitra by Pensieve, CaseMine, mLeap, SCC Online, Manupatra|
|Legal Case Management (including Document Management)||Tools that store, analyse, and monitor cases||CosmoLex, Smokeball, AbacusLaw, Actionstep, eFileCabinet, iManage||LegalCaseManagement by ManekTech, CaseWatch, MyAdvo|
|Legal Billing Software||Manage client payments, send overdue invoice notices, etc.||TimeSolv, Bill4Time, FreshBooks, TimeSlips|
|Task Management||Tools that help strategise meetings, priorities, cases, etc.||Wrike, Filevine, SmartAdvocate, Firm Central – by Thomas Reuters, LawToolBox|
|Document Review, Assembly, and Creation||Tools that draft legal documents, assemble them, and review them through AI and ML||Luminance, LegalMation, Rocket Lawyer, Kira, DocJuris, Legartis, Casedo, Documate, Lawyaw, CobbleStone|
|E-Discovery||Tools that identify relevant documents and tag them with the primary document||Everlaw, Relativity, Exterro, Luminance, Lex Machina|
|Outcome Prediction||Tools that predict the tentative outcome of a pleading. Eg: What could be the damages that accrue?, Likely award or compensation, etc||CaseCrunch, Lex Machina, Gavelytics, Blue J Legal|
|Tools that analyse, store and manage the performance of contracts||Kira Systems, LexCheck ,DocuSign||Leegality, SpotDraft, Anvi Insight by Anvi|
|Legal Clients||Online Marketplaces||Tools that help connect lawyers to clients, and help in Customer Experience Solutions (CX)||Avvo, Lexicata, BizzCounsel, LegalZoom, Lexoo||VakilSearch, LawRato, MyAdvo|
|Legal Chatbots||Tools that provide automated legal advice to clients on matters that do not require expert advice.||Robot Lawyer Lisa, Ross, BillyBot||LawBot by LawRato|
|Dispute Resolution||Extra-legal dispute resolution on the online mode||Modria, Nolo||Jupitice|
|Legal Documentation||Tools that help clients create documents through templates.||Rocket Lawyer, LegalZoom|
How can I engage myself in Legal Tech?
To step into the Legal Tech industry, you can take certificate courses and attend webinars, participate in hackathons, intern at legal tech startups or incubators, talk to experts or incumbent professionals to get an insight into the legal tech world. But before that, one needs to change one’s outlook towards technology and unlearn traditionally associated notions. The hesitancy associated with automation of the legal sector needs to be done away with.
We have compiled a list of resources that you could refer to turn your curiosity into substantive action and give yourself an initial push.
You can engage with reading blogs and articles. It will help you achieve a varied range of knowledge, from basics to practical tools and training. For instance, you can start with Artificial Lawyer, Lawtomate, Legal Evolution, and India Legal Tech. For more reading resources, check out the list given below.
- Legal Tech Cheat Sheet: All you need to know about Legal tech, Lawtomated
- Legal Tech Resources, Legal Tech Hub
- LawTech Resources, Monash University
- Legal Data Science and Machine Learning, The Legal Big Guy
- American Bar Association (ABA), Legal Technology Resource Center
- Legal Technology (Blog)
- Legal Mosaic (Blog)
- The Wired Wig (Blog)
- The Legal Technologist (Magazine)
You could also start watching content online and stream podcasts. For instance, Legal Tech School on youtube can give you a primer on different Legal Tech software. You could also stream Digital Detectives Legal Talk Network. For a more detailed list, see below:
- Technically Legal (podcast)
- Evolve the Law (podcast)
- LawNext (podcast)
- The Modern Lawyer (podcast)
- Law Technology Now (podcast)
- Evolve the Law – A Catalyst for Legal Innovation (podcast)
- The Wired Wig (Podcast)
- SCL Student Bytes (Podcast)
- Legal Hackers
Engagement on Social Media (Accounts/Pages to follow)
Another important and easy manner to learn more is to follow people who indulge with Legal Tech on a regular basis. This will give you an insight into the practical world of Legal Tech and also keep you updated with recent developments.
- @Clevy_Law (Twitter)
- @alexgsmith (Twitter)
- @alexhamiltonrad (Twitter)
- @lawtomated (Twitter)
- @bobambrogi (Twitter)
- @akhudek (Twitter)
- Stanford CodeX
- Bucerius Legal Tech Essentials
- Berkeley Law and Technology Certificate Program
- Coursera – Legal Tech and Startups (duration: 13 hours, free enrolment)
- LT&I Institute – Legal Technology and Innovations certificate (duration: 2-3 weeks, cost:$500-$6000)
- The University of Law – Introduction to Innovation and Technology in Legal Services (duration: 3 weeks, cost: $49)
- Harvard University (EdX) – CS50’s Computer Science for Lawyers (duration: 10 weeks, cost: Rs 10,838)
- Chicago-Kent College of Law – JD Certificate Program Legal Innovation + Technology
Events, Webinars, Conferences, and Hackathons
- Global Legal Hackathon (Usually conducted in the month of April and May)
- AMIHACKS Legal Hackathon (Amity Law School, Noida) (Usually conducted in the month of march)
- DigiRights Legal Hackathon (Usually conducted in the month of July)
- Legal Geek Conference (Usually conducted in the month of October)
- Legal Innovation and Technology Fest (Usually conducted in the month of October)
- Future Lawyer Week
Apprise yourself with the Legal Tech ecosystem in your country and abroad
Legal Tech Incubators
- Prarambh– Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) – India
- Algo Legal’s Incubator – India
- Fuse – Allen & Ovary
- Slaughter and May Legal Tech Incubator
- Legal Tech Labs
- Next Law Labs
Few Legal Tech Companies and Start-ups in India
- Presolv360– Resolution of disputes through online mode
- PracticeLeague– Contract Management, IPR Management, Document Management etc.
- LawRato– Video Consultations and Online Legal Advice
- LegalKart– Instant Legal advice on phone calls, document review, document drafting
- Quant LegalTech Pte. Ltd. – Customised solutions through Legal Tech
- Leegality– eSignature, Document Security, Contracting and Compliance
- Lawyered– Online Legal Advice
- IndiaFilings– Registration of companies, preparation of legal documents and Intellectual Property
- VakilSearch– incorporation, government registrations & filings, accounting, documentation, and annual compliances
- Legal Salah – A legal-technology startup focused on providing law and taxation services
- SpotDraft – Offers technology-based solutions for complex legal dealings, including drafting, managing and storing paperwork online, analysing contracts and automating invoices, besides sending reminders and advice on legal compliance.
- LegalKart – Allows lawyers and other professionals in the legal system to assign and synchronise tasks. It also provides facilitates collaboration among professionals.
- LegalPay – Tech-based litigation financier
- MikeLegal – Artificially Intelligent legal associate with the aim to significantly ease and eliminate the effort currently required to manage IP related tasks specifically Trademark Public Search (MikeTM Search), Trademark Journal Watch (MikeTM Watch), Trademark Portfolio Management (MikeTM Manager), Patent Portfolio Management (MikePatent Manager) and Contract Reviewer by harnessing the power of AI
- LegitQuest – Legal-tech company that operates a legal research platform with Indian case laws
- LegalWiz – Provides high quality professional services for small businesses, start-up entrepreneurs and individuals
Legal Tech Networks and Associations
- European Legal Tech Association (ELTA)
- Asia- Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association (ALITA)
- International Legal Tech Association (ILTA)
- Association of Legal Technologies (ALT)