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The Advent of Legal Ecosystem through Technology: Vision 2020

Presently, India's legal profession is the world's second-largest, with more than 600,000 lawyers in more than 500 legal practices nationwide. By 2020, structural collapse of existing legal framework will occur, where legal services will make way for a brand new legal ecosystem.
Written by:
Anil Bains
Published on

The technology and transformation era is rehashing the way service dominant ecosystems function. With our final episode, we showcase how the vision for the Legal Tech Fair 2017, explores Law2020.

Presently, India’s legal profession is the world’s second-largest, with more than 600,000 lawyers in more than 500 legal practices nationwide. In 2010, the total value of the Indian legal market was estimated to be approximately US$ 1.25 billion. The legal technology market is solely service based industry with a market size relatively smaller as compared to the visioned market scale, at both global and local levels. However, the need has been realised to cultivate a business model that meets client demands cost-effectively and eases the client’s legal journey efficiently.

The legal system has identified that innovation begins and terminates with the client. Tech-savvy clients have started expecting and demanding efficiency as they have become aware of the technology-driven systems employed by legal professionals. Clients have become concerned with managing their budget with controlled spending and transparency that is not present in the current legal design. 

The legal profession has realised that 'smart work' needs to replace ‘complex work’ to attract and retain clients, and improve client’s experience. By 2020, structural collapse of existing legal framework will occur, where legal services will make way for a brand new legal ecosystem. The existing complicated and fragmented legal structure will be replaced by this conglomerated legal ecosystem.

Multi-disciplinary legal issues that are beyond the handling capability of a complicated legal service framework will pave the way for a legal ecosystem that will comprise of clients, law firms, lawyers, law schools and legal technology businesses. Technological advancements that are assimilated in this new ecosystem will alter trends in the legal profession by simplifying financial management, vendor management, data analytics, tech support, cross-functional alignment, and litigation support.

The legal profession will be reshaped by this legal ecosystem facilitated by legal tech platforms that employ process-improvement tools. One such tool is case management. This new legal ecosystem will incite different roles, products and approaches to a client's journey. With an ever-changing technology landscape and the roles that evolve within it, legal professionals will have a greater need for a third player, termed as a ‘legal scientist’.

‘Legal scientist’ will be someone who employs AI, predictive analytics and case management tools to optimise client experience. With case management, legal scientists will create an electronic counterpart of the manual or physical paperwork and provide quick access to case-level details and productivity metrics. 

Artificial Intelligence will assemble robot-judges with the capability to automatically announce judgments on the basis of information provided by these legal scientists by employing analytics tools, prediction system and machine learning. Legal scientist, along with machines will remodel the craft of legal procedures. Cross-border negotiations will be automated and smart contracts will replace the manual contract drafting mechanism.


Additionally, legal professionals will require to have computing skills and fixed source for consistent and reliable data regarding different legal matters, invoicing, etc. This will upgrade the efficiency and functionality of existing legal technology like document automation, decision engines, e-Discovery, research tools and so on.

By 2020, technology advances in process automation, machine learning and AI as means to increase speed and efficiency will change the way legal professionals handle client matters and drive the legal domain further into the cloud system. Advanced search functions based on machine learning that will identify specific legal information, blocks of text, clauses and anomalies will be used to speed up document review and create a more efficient, cost-effective process of extracting information from many a plethora of documents. 

A multi-strand data approach that includes trending industry concepts such as ‘big data’ and ‘unstructured databases’ will allow legal technology vendors to provide resilient, higher performance, and feature-enriched applications. A perpetual rush of legal scientists will occur that will bridge the gap between consumers and lawyers.

By 2020 the depiction of legal service deliverables will be much clearer than it is now with an established legal ecosystem. Though technology is and will be the driving factor for incorporation of a legal ecosystem, legal scientists will be a 'point of touch' between customers and lawyers through technology-steered process improvement systems. 

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