This post is part of our Legal Influencer series where we interview the world's leading legal experts to get their take on the state of the legal industry, the top trends to watch for, and what the future holds.
The following is an interview we recently had with Madaline Zannes, J.D. Law, Legal Tech Professional, Innovation Advocate.
1. How has the legal industry evolved in the past 5 years?
MZ: Legal tech has been revolutionizing the way that we operate. Having been involved in steering technological advances within various law firms, the tremendous ability technology provides in aiding administrative duties and legal research is impossible to ignore. Developments in innovation during the past few years have encouraged many lawyers to take a technological leap of faith towards optimizing time and energy consuming processes. As can be observed with the explosion of Legal Tech startups – we are constantly searching for ways to streamline the profession.
👉 “Legal practice management is shifting towards innovation, but like many regulated professions, adopting new technology can be onerous”
It’s only a matter of time before integrations between new technology and standard practices become inevitable.
2. What are the top legal technology trends you're seeing?
MZ: It’s never been a more exciting time for A.I.’s role in legal practice. It’s still in its infancy stage considering it is mainly capable of task-related duties. However, at this rate of innovation in A.I., the idea of an artificial superintelligent lawyer isn’t impossible to imagine.
As tech evolves, the legal industry is also seeing activity within the cloud. At the intersection of innovation and necessity are cloud-based solutions. In the legal industry, cloud ethics opinions have been increasingly positive towards permitting cloud computing within reasonable care, especially in the realm of client data storage and document sharing.
The list continues:
- Document automation that allows modification of clauses to allow better opportunities to scale.
- Risk detection via predictive analytics.
- Machine learning, chatbots, and A.I. for research and better decision-making.
- Blockchain for increased privacy and security.
3. How will A.I. change the legal industry?
MZ: We are still some distance away from perfecting artificial general intelligence (AGI), and are even further away from artificial superintelligence (ASI).
✅ “For now, with our more narrow form of A.I., the creativity of lawyers remains imperative” 💡
As A.I. learning mechanisms improve, lawyers will likely continue to find plenty of use from chatbots and IoT assistants from the perspective of data gathering, conversational dialogue, and more.
4. How will blockchain change the legal industry?
MZ: Blockchain and the legal industry could work in synergy when it comes to adding another layer of privacy and security in protecting client information. Data breaches do happen, and blockchain technology could provide a potentially better safeguard regarding financial assets, data, and transactions. For example, the Ethereum network uses technology called “Smart Contracts” which can be used to verify and store user signatures, which could potentially allow clients and lawyers to sign legally binding agreements more securely. In terms of cryptocurrency, I don’t see any direct practical applications for token-based systems as of yet.
5. What's the future of Law?
MZ: Perfecting the automation of administrative tasks and legal research is inherent. The use of A.I. and data science can allow lawyers to offer legal advice faster, with improvements to overall quality of service. This includes integration of cloud options and blockchain within practice management. Also, firm websites will likely shift from providing static information only, to allowing client-centric accessibility and case engagement in the process of a dealing with matters. Technology will definitely continue to push certain outdated rules forward in the legal profession. With the influx of new technologies, rules of practice will have to be updated keep up with all the latest legal technology trends – so expect policies to change in order to keep up.
About Madaline Zannes
Madaline Zannes is a Legal Tech Professional and Innovation Advocate. Born and raised in Toronto, Madaline graduated with a J.D. in Law from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2012. Having been an influencer in personal growth and success advocacy since 2009, Madaline has travelled and connected with legal colleagues internationally. With interests in legal tech, real estate, and business, her verified Twitter feed shares the latest in innovation and disruption. As a writer and ghostwriter, Madaline has had her work published on various news websites and blogs, including Inman News, HuffPost, and ZannesLaw. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.