Technology completely changes the legal landscape as it evolves the role of the legal professional. Automated legal processes require lawyers, paralegals, legal secretaries and others in the legal field to become proficient in technology as well as the law. Legal career prospective need to understand word processing, telecommunications, databases, spreadsheets and other legal research software to be competitive in this increasingly technological world. Technology hits every area of legal practice, from law firms to corporate practices to document management to the very heart of the courtroom itself.
Law Firm Technology
Electronic billing has replaced traditional paper invoices in most law firms. Technology is also a crucial marketing tool, as newly published legal blogs become a critical component.
Electronic Case Management
Electronic case management completely revolutionizes how documents are now handled. Firms can electronically store case files that once took huge volumes. Databases are created to easily track, edit, search, distribute and archive documents. Computers can do in a second what it used to take a smoky room full of lawyers days to achieve.
Electronically filing documents in court, better known as e-filing, has become common practice in most federal and state courts. Files can then be posted on the Internet so that counsel, journalists or concerned citizens may access them from any computer. Courtrooms increasingly reap the benefits of the electronic age.
Technology and the Legal Professional
Legal professionals now use legal technology more than ever. Instead of the stereotypical legal pad, Blackberries, video conference tools and data applications are closer to the reality. While the traditional briefcase remains important, it is more likely to contain a laptop than an excess of legal documents.
New federal rules enacted in 2006 now require litigating parties to preserve and produce documents that are normally in an electronic format. This includes email, text messages, voice mails, instant messages and other forms of electronic media. The process of reviewing and reading these pages has created an array of litigation database management tools. Legal professionals code, image, analyze and review this massive amount of electronic evidence through a system known as database discovery.
E-discovery has given rise to the new legal professional known as the litigations support professional. If this field interests you, find legal staffing services to help you reach your career goals.