Legal Tech: Technology and Legal Practice

pHOTO: CPT-8100 word processor

The term ‘Legal Tech’ can mean different things to different people. To the creators of the comic book hero Judge Dredd, now the leading character in some entertaining movies, legal tech in a post-apocalyptic future means empowering judges by equipping them with body armour, powerful guns and high-speed motorcycles so that they can roam cities to dispense quick and, where necessary, brutal justice. There is a core similarity between Judge Dredd the fictional, futuristic character and what legal tech means to most lawyers working in today’s pre-apocalyptic world: improving efficiency.

In many cases, legal tech simply means the adoption by lawyers of generally available technology and tools to make themselves more productive, such as word processing. While word processing may have been a great leap forward for all people who write letters, it is an even more fantastic tool for people who draft contracts that have multi-layered structures of headings, paragraphs and sub-paragraphs. When those documents were prepared on typewriters, inserting an additional paragraph into a long contract could mean hours of extra work for a typist if the insertion caused the pagination to change. This is an example of a technology that has helped everyone, including lawyers, but which has been especially helpful for lawyers.

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