D.C. BAR 2020 CONFERENCE – DISCOVER MORE AT https://www.dcbarconference.org
 

News

The Coming Game-Changing Tech Tools for Lawyers

November 12, 2018

What advancements in legal technology will have the biggest impact on the practice of law? D.C. Bar members sound off on how technology will reshape how lawyers serve their clients and the opportunities for efficiencies that new legal tech offers.  

 

Cheryl AaronCheryl Aaron 
Senior Counsel
Michael Best & Friedrich LLP  

Blockchain, a type of distributed ledger technology (DLT), is by far the most exciting new technology out there. Bitcoin is the best-known application of DLT, but its implications are far greater. A blockchain is essentially a decentralized digital ledger that allows any type of data to be stored on it, and new data can only be added to the ledger if each node in the network agrees to it. This creates a record that is immutable, verifiable, essentially free from fraud and manipulation, and does not require any intermediaries. At its most basic, blockchain is a platform on which applications can be built. 

In the legal industry, there are a number of potential impacts and efficiencies to be gained from blockchain. First, smart contracts — which are simply computer code that say, “if X happens, then Y will happen” — will allow parties to automate portions of their legal contracts. Secondly, clients may eventually be able to rely on blockchain technology to comply with their regulatory reporting and recordkeeping requirements, and blockchain lawyers will be well positioned to advise in this area. Third, perhaps most obviously, lawyers may consider accepting legal fees in the form of cryptocurrencies. 

 

Maria SimonMaria C. Simon
Partner Geller Law Group 

The technology that automates deadlines and streamlines calendaring will have the biggest impact on the legal industry in the future. Lawyers and their staff spend a significant amount of time figuring out deadlines to respond to filings or when documents may be due. They also spend a lot of time traveling to court to set matters for hearing or trials. For tracking of deadlines, case management software that automatically populates deadlines based on jurisdiction would be a time-saver for both lawyers and their administrative staff. 

Similarly, if there were more automated systems in place, lawyers would be able to pick hearing and trial dates online without the need to travel to court. This would significantly save clients attorney’s fees because it would reduce attorney time appearing in court for non-substantive matters, while freeing up lawyers to spend more time on substantive legal work.