Technology has revolutionized most industries, and the legal sphere is no exception. From the way that legal proceedings take place to how attorneys prepare for cases, we can see its effects in so many ways. For legal teams in particular, the process of preparing legal documents and trying cases has been made a lot more easy, accurate and successful with the support of technology. Processes have been streamlined thanks to technological innovations and developments that have changed the way we work forever. Let’s look at some of the ways that technology supports legal teams, and how it will in the future.
1. Data Discovery
Gathering information is one of the most important tasks that a legal team has. And the wealth of data available on the internet, from security camera footage to spending histories means that legal teams have access to a whole new world of evidence. E-discovery technology has hugely supported legal teams in improving their ability to gather information and establish airtight timelines. Things like social media, the digitization of money and street camera footage have had a huge role to play in this.
At every stage of the legal process, data discovery is crucial in building a case and supporting legal teams. E-discovery covers a lot of activities, including:
- Social media
- Audio recordings
It also offers a comprehensive view of the information collected and way to organize documents and evidence. In the past, legal teams would have to work with boxes and boxes of documents and files, but with e-discovery software, this isn’t the case anymore. Everything is securely stored in cloud-based storage and easily accessible for all members of the team.
2. Administrative Expertise
Another way in which technology supports legal teams is by making administrative duties so much more simple and secure. Storing files online makes organizational tasks much more efficient and accurate, plus the added security of cloud storage gives extra peace of mind to legal professionals.
Even activities such as organizing calendars and schedules are made much easier thanks to technological advancements. Online scheduling software can coordinate multiple calendars and help legal professionals stay on top of their meetings, commitments and clients. Legal cases often require a lot of input from different information sources, meaning that during the investigation process, an attorney may need to work with or speak to many different people. Technology aids this with administrative support to keep calls and meetings organized and deadlines met.
3. Collecting Testimony and Conducting Depositions
The way that legal teams can collect testimony has also changed hugely. This is particularly useful for teams working on overseas cases where they need to collect information from witnesses. In the past, this would mean large amounts of travel to sites or different locations to speak to the relevant people. However, now legal teams have the ability to conduct virtual meetings with colleagues, law enforcement or any other organizations related to their cases. In terms of collecting testimony, online depositions or testimony recordings can take place on secure virtual servers and be used with ease in cases, showing yet another way that technology supports legal teams.
4. Legal Proceedings
In the courtroom, technology has supported many parts of legal proceedings inside and outside of courts. In particularly sensitive cases, witnesses can give testimony via a secure stream if they don’t feel comfortable being in the courtroom or cannot attend the trial itself. This is particularly useful for legal teams, as in the past that would mean not being able to have witnesses testify.
There are other areas where technology helps legal proceedings take place with things like the ability to play back audio recordings or show video evidence to the jury or judge.
Security is a huge priority for legal teams, who need to verify their information sources and protect highly sensitive information in order to try, and win, their cases. The misplacement or loss of just one file can mean the difference between a case won or lost. Technology allows legal teams to securely store case information and other legal documents to be used in their cases, as well as protecting witness testimony. Technology has created the possibilities to keep information secure in a way that has never been done before. This is possible thanks to secure cloud networks and online information management systems that utilize the best in data protection technology to safeguard legal information and documents.
6. Access to News
The news media has a large part to play in many criminal cases, with live reporting and published stories acting as paper trails for legal teams to use to gather information. Even in non-criminal cases, the news creates unbiased timelines that legal teams can work with when investigating their case. Technology, and the archiving of thousands of articles and news pieces means that teams have access to more information than ever before, and can look to multiple news sources for information about their cases. This helps them to build timelines and learn more in their investigative endeavours.
Technology: An Ally to Legal Teams
We can clearly see that technology has had a profound impact on the legal industry, and hugely supports legal teams in their work. Thanks to technology, legal teams can work more efficiently and securely. This allows them to gather information in a much quicker way, and utilize it to build, and win, their cases.
In the future, it’s likely that technology will continue to impact every industry in the business world. In particular, the rise of artificial intelligence will inevitably reach the legal professions, and further assist in research and collection methods. Remote working practices and technology that supports that will also aid legal teams further in the future, especially with the rise of remote working as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Technology has driven the legal profession forward with each innovation, and the justice and legal systems will only become better with time. As long as we evolve with technology, the way we practice law will always be improving.