Legal Tech and its future

The implementation of latest tech available in the market such as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence etc. to maximize the possibilities of all existing and potential stakeholders in the legal sector is Legal Tech or Legal Technology. The requirement for lawyers in India is currently not being met despite the fraternity of lawyers booming up to around 18 lakh presently. Practicing law and use of technology have traditionally gone hand in hand.  

Current Data shows the pendency of cases spiraling beyond control with figures touching 3.3 crore. While the shortage of lawyers and judges in the judicial system is the root cause of this problem, one could argue the reluctance of the legal profession to implement legal tech in their day to day functioning also acts an impediment to a swift justice delivery system.

There is a bright future for tech in the legal field. The dynamic nature of young legal professionals mean they are proactive with respect to a new system of work. They also know the massive potential of the legal tech industry and how to harness this potential for their legal practice. Presently there has been an advent of several legal tech companies making forays into online services such as online legal documents and contracts creation, helping clients find a lawyer, legal database tech for legal research etc. However, there is a lot of up tapped potential still in this field especially with regards to implementation of AI tech. Lawyers can also find an adequate solution to their client’s problems with the help of AI’s predictive ability to decide the possible outcome of litigation. The emergence of Legal Tech has led to the question as to whether a possible future exists where AI replaces a lawyer.
However, in my opinion, Legal Tech is merely a tool to augment the lawyers and not replace them as advocacy has its share of emotions which cant be compensated by the AI’s algorithm.

As of now, Lawyers in India have a real problem of having an efficient and reliable online legal research portal to find relevant Indian case laws and to analyze unstructured judgments by the Supreme Court
 
The government has been proactive in its support of the implementation of legal tech for quicker and more efficient judicial decision making.  The Law Commission of India in its report, “Reforms in the Judiciary – Some Suggestions”, has recommended that cases on similar points should be clubbed together using technology and decided at once on a priority basis. It will reduce the arrears. It also suggested creating a legal data base which will help in easy disposal of similar cases. Another suggestion was easy availability of judgements which can be provided instantly using technology. This goes to show that there is the realisation of the importance of legal technology and the requirement to incorporate these into our legal framework.

While law is in a constant state of evolution, the same can be said about technology. The work of a lawyer can never be replaced but the importance of technology in assisting the lawyers cannot be stressed enough. It is a known fact that Legal Tech makes the work of a lawyer simpler thereby improving its accuracy and efficiency. The complexities of law change with time and there is a need to keep up. Using technology as an aid, we can reduce the search time for relevant legal research there while targeting greater efficacy in the quality of the research.

 

Sidharth Nair 
on 10 October 2018
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