Over the past decade, digital technology has grown at a rapid rate and has already taken hold in a number of industries, forever altering how business is conducted. In the past, the legal profession has been slow to act on the opportunities provided by technology, however, that mindset is beginning to change and more in-house legal teams are beginning to embrace the benefits offered by advancing technology. Here are some of the top legal technology trends that matter most to legal departments:
Cybersecurity and GDPR
Data security isn’t a new trend in the legal sector as all firms and legal departments place a high priority on protecting information. However, with the implementation of GDPR in the EU, data security is being viewed in a different light, particularly amongst in-house teams. GDPR will force organizations to find a balance between being prepared for individual inquiries about the personal information retained with the need to comply with request to delete that data if the individual so requests it. Legal departments also need to weigh the cost of compliance, as the regulation allows for fines of up to 4% of a company’s global annual revenue if found in violation. As a result, in-house teams should ensure their organizations have technology to help them manage and protect data, as well as ensure compliance with GDPR.
Artificial intelligence is one technology that the legal industry in general has been slow to implement, for reasons ranging from regulatory uncertainty to concerns that “robolawyers” may not perform to the level of human lawyers. However, the reality is that by using AI to assist in menial tasks such as research or contract review, in-house teams can devote their limited resources to more important things. To that end, more legal departments will begin to seek out AI solutions to assist with tasks such as research, contract review and eDiscovery, among others.
The functionality and performance of mobile devices has dramatically improved over the last decade and continues to advance at a surprising pace. As a result, lawyers on in-house teams are able to get more done away from the office, which improves efficiency, as well as client engagement and satisfaction.
The application most often brought up when discussing blockchain technology is cryptocurrency but the legal industry has begun to leverage the technology for “smart contracts.” The technology will also play a role in document security and control as it will give in-house teams the ability to control where a document exists and who can access it while also providing the ability to remove it or lock down a document if necessary.