Ryan a 15-year-old wanna-be lawyer, came in for a week’s work experience with me. Here’s his take on how technology will change law and legal practice. He’s not convinced that we’ll have Robo Lawyers in the immediate future and he’s a little worried about blockchain.
Recently, I was thinking about the effect that technology could have on law. As someone who is wanting to go into law when I am older, I think there are many ways it could affect the industry in the future. This ranges from data management to advertising of new positions/firms.
Tech is all pervasive
Nowadays technology is incredibly important in our everyday lives. I don’t think I’ve gone a day without using or watching some kind of phone, tablet or TV in a long time, unless I’m pinned under mountains of school work! Technology is also being put into and improving new industries every day and law could be the next industry to be included in this transition to tech.
I use social media every day although, unlike my friends, I only use Instagram. However, it is obvious the ways that social media could be used to benefit the world of law as we know it. The main use of a platform like Instagram would be in advertising new firms. This could be done through either a social media account for the firm or through the use of other social media accounts to raise awareness of the new firm. It could also be used to show people parts of law or introduce them to concepts that would interest young people through posts and/or stories and get more people interested in law earlier on in their lives.
About four months ago, in February, I was lucky enough to go to the Global Legal Hackathon hosted at Pinsent Masons’ London office and I saw how a few groups had come up with new ways for technology to be put into law. Some of these ideas were very smart and looked quite promising. However, there were some groups trying to input technology into places where it wasn’t really needed. Hopefully, this could be avoided in the future so as not to waste time and money.
In areas like data management, the input of a storage network like the cloud, for example, could be revolutionary and help to keep track of all kinds of data that a lawyer, firm or business could ever need. However, the more an industry becomes reliant on technology the more risks there are. For example, there are more chances that the industry could be majorly affected by things like hacking as we have seen with the incidents at the NHS for example.
There are also questions over whether or not AI could be incorporated into law in the future. Although AI has been put into things like determining sentences and parole eligibility for criminals, I personally do not believe that an AI will be able to replace a lawyer any time soon. In order to create an AI capable of doing the same job as someone like a solicitor or a litigator, you would not just need to program it with knowledge of the law, you would have to give it the experience and rational thought that a human lawyer uses with every client that they have. I don’t believe that AI poses any threat or will cause any change to law in the near future.
Blockchain – great, but worrying
Some people believe that blockchain could be used in the future over things other than cryptocurrency. Some say that blockchain could be used to securely and efficiently transfer anything from money to information. If it could be used this way to revolutionise transactions in the future then I would be very supportive of it. However, I do worry that relying more and more on an individual piece of technology could potentially be a problem in the future if the program was to experience problems/crash.
Tech take over
By the time that I get into law, I have good reason to believe that it will have been relatively taken over by new technology to make everything more efficient and easier to handle. Apps could be invented that would assist with certain aspects of law or store all kinds of data that could be needed by a firm. I think that this will overall benefit the law industry in the ways that it could be applied to different areas as well as how it could make everything more efficient in terms of data management and getting more young people into law.