Legal Tech: What Is and What Is It For?
Those of us who pass through the legal profession know that it is inherently conservative. We find several reasons for this, but we believe that it is basically due to risk aversion. Liability to the client makes the lawyer think more of the negative consequences than the positive ones. Therefore, it is not surprising that technology has not penetrated this as deeply as in other businesses. But this is changing, thanks to what is called Legal Tech.
Basically, Legal Tech is the use of technology – software and applications – in order to provide legal services. While in principle technology was applied to facilitate the daily task of lawyers, since a few years ago Legal Tech is turning to a disruptive phase of legal services. How is this? Simple, technological startups (multidisciplinary, including lawyers) develop online applications that facilitate client’s interaction with the lawyer, or even eliminate the need for it.
As an example of the latter we can mention the company LegalZoom. Founded in 2001, it allows its clients to create legal documents without the assistance of a lawyer. Among its services we can also find the option of creating companies, intellectual property management, granting of powers of attorney as well as expressing testamentary will. It also offers the service to hire lawyers.
These types of startups are currently gaining momentum. Recently, the investment company AltaIR Capital, whose main investor is the Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich, made a $1 million investment in Ettorney Technologies Ltd. This Tel Aviv-based legal tech startup, founded in 2015, provides legal services to individuals, companies as well as law firms.
I Am a Lawyer, Will I Lose My Job?
The question that naturally arises is: does the emergence of these startups imply the disappearance of the practice of law as we knew it? In our opinion, no. While it is true that it increases the offer of legal services even more in a hyper-saturated market, it is no less true that the services they offer are basic. Even thinking about the chatbots that, by means of artificial intelligence, could solve some legal issue. In more complex legal matters, lawyers have a lot to say (and do). The key is specialization and creativity. Therefore, it is important in the lawyer’s practice, the balance between the use of Legal Tech technology and the personalized practice in difficult cases.