How is Techology changing the practice of law?

August 05, 2019
technology and law

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In this article, Anubhav Pandey, senior editor at iPleaders blog and a regular contributor to various legal websites draws an assertion on how technology is changing the practice of law.

The celebrated writer, Mario Puzo in his book “The Godfather” reiterates the importance of lawA lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than a thousand men with guns. Let me do the much-required addition to the statement made by Puzo.

A lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than a thousand men with guns provided the tools he carries in his briefcase weigh more than bullets in the gun!

The world is an expanding horizon today. Law is expanding with the help of new found technology. Let us understand how technology is changing the practice of law.

Googlite: A new found religion!

Having a legal query? Google it! You might get the answer after few intelligent searches. Google has made things simple and straight. The new found online legal market is gaining popularity. A huge percentage of youth today look for, compare, search, google what they are buying. Not much different is happening in the legal field.

Google has become a source of education, empowerment for many of us. From posting of a legal query to searching on ‘Registration of shops under Shops and Establishment Act(s). How to draft a will, Divorce by mutual consent and what not. Google has made things simple and smooth.

Even legal research. Google has expanded the horizon of online legal research too. Let us keep this discussion under the curtain as this section is dealt in detail in the later part of this article.

Sit back on the couch and file your tax return: Filing services

Gone are the days when ordinary taxpayers solely relied on the lawyer/CA next door for tax or perhaps any filing. Let us dig deeper into this and understand the filing services offered by various online legal platform.

Not one or two but countless service providers providing legal service filing are available today. Few example of filing services are, Registration for Private Limited Company, Limited Liability Partnership, Society Registration, Nidhi Company Registration, Import Export Code Registration and more.

Not only these, making online agreements such as Franchise Agreement, Website Agreement, Rent Agreement, Salee Deed, Will, and many other drafting works requiring legal qualification and knowledge is now done online. These service providers are well equipped with professional and qualified team members.

Want a rent agreement, I might think of using the internet rather than consulting lawyer next door. This is the shift in law brought solely with the help of technology.

Bookshelf with Law Reports: Only for press interview!

I am not changing the fundamental leitmotif or the pet phrase, “Best friend to a lawyer after the judge is his books.” We require books at every platform. Being an active mooter I can assure that many of you will buy this idea. (Personally, I do).

With the advent of technology in the field of law, all the law reports on the shelves are being replaced with online legal databases. SCCONLINE, Manuputra, Westlaw are the change maker in this field. Moreover, now technology has brought a pause to manual fingers licks while turning the pages.

Let us get into a Q&A session. Would you prefer typing the search word instead of turning bulky pages of law reports or not? Do you prefer saving time over everything else (let us keep the purple paper in your wallet out of the discussion’s scope)? Do you want to check twice whether the case you are using is overruled or not?

If the answer to all the above is is affirmation, then yes technology did change the practice of law. Not satisfied with the contention. Let us take an objective look at how the online legal search databases simplified the legal research and made legal research more accessible to all.

Online legal research is more accurate

There was a time once when the veteran lawyers of today relied on Law reports. But we should also understand that the option of using anything else was none. Internship experience of most of us has taught us one fear and this fear is embedded in every practising lawyer. The fear of using an overruled authority (case or statute).

Just a red visible mark, mostly with an exclamation. Sounds more like danger sign, isn’t it? Indeed it is. This is what it looks like, an overruled case or statute. A red sign in online legal research databases. This is just an example. Using a keyword to find relevant cases saves a lot of time.

Time Saver

The first lesson taught in any Legal Research Methods classroom. Online legal research saves time compared to going through law reports. This sounds relevant not only in theory but also in practice.

Cost effective

Buying physical law reporter is anytime more costly than buying subscription for online legal research databases. Moreover, online legal databases not only is restricted to case laws, they have valuable articles, opinions and many extending features which help you all throughout your practical life.

My intention is not to discourage the use of books in the legal profession. The section above is a mere comparison of the two ends, the offline legal research method, and the online legal research method. Knowledge, passion and the love for the law is the connecting bridge of these two ends.

Technology has evolved the very idea of ‘access to justice.’

The client’s of access to justice has moved me since the first day of my law school. Earlier, having proper access to court proceedings was considered to be enough for access to justice. But realising the importance of technology today, the former mentioned is just an important part of the overall mechanism.

Having proper access to legal materials, to know the law at the click of the mouse. This is what constitutes access to justice. Letting the people know of their rights is access to justice. Being up to date with the latest happenings of law is access to justice. This has only been possible through the evolving technology.

Legal blogs

Nowadays, legal blogs are among one of the highest paid specialized blogging niches. The reason for legal blogs acquiring a great spot in Google Adsense list is the interest of the viewers. Cpc or commonly know as the Cost-per-Click (all the learner of law, take a deep breath. Cpc here is not Civil Procedure Code) is the money Google (through the advertisers) will pay you with a single click by a user. Let us not get into the technicality and understand the example by a simple objective fact.

An article on CPC (Civil Procedure Code) might get you an add which is worth INR 36.66 per click. Surprising, isn’t it? Wait, I have got more in store. Does the idea of Murder motivate you? Do not charge me with abetment. I am talking of Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code. Writing an article on Murder can bring you INR 24.85 per click. I hope the statistics given helped you in understanding how technology is shifting the very idea of using law.

I hope the statistics given helped you in understanding how technology is shifting the very idea of using law as a source of online income.  

A prominent player in the field of online legal blogging is iPleaders. Being India’s most read legal blog, we make it a point that law reaches the doorsteps of every ordinary citizen.

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Technology has brought pace to court proceeding

Indian Courts are techno savvy now. All the High Court and the Supreme Court functions through their server. Every case update or any other related information is available within a click.

Let us understand this from a clients perspective. Now, the clients are not supposed to make frequent visits to the Court’s premises asking for where to find the appropriate office for case updates. All thanks to technology. This is how technology is changing the practice of law.

Filing of PIL

Do you care for the society? Want to file a case in public interest? Drop a mail at the email id of the High Court or Supreme Court. Although not considered as a good alternative to case filing with proper court procedure, you can file a PIL with any High Courts or the Supreme Court by simply sending an email that reaches the chief justice, or a letter by snail mail addressed to the chief justice, or even by sending postcard.

Law is not the same flavored tea found till the late 90s. Now the pack comes with tea leaves of different flavours served both hot and cold!

Technology has changed the complete practice of law. Law found till the late 90s have evolved to a new sphere today. One can learn about court craft, learn any legal topic law online. The horizon is still expanding and the future is even brighter than what it is today.

From searching of a case to the reading of books. Screen is replacing paper at a speedy rate. This has brought ease to work, saves time, money, energy and resources. From all these perspective one can easily claim that technology is changing the practice of law.

Online Legal Education

Want to learn the intricacies of drafting a contract? Interested in knowing the know-hows of M&A? Enrolling in a full-time law University is not important today for this. There are many occasions where a CA feels he should have the fundamental knowledge of drafting of a contract. Transforming the said words into action, players are already producing results in the field of online legal education.

Well, that was the reason that Lawsikho courses provide top quality learning – it does not matter whether you are from a top national law school or not, or whether you are a corporate lawyer or not – anyone who is completed Class XII, understands English and is interested in a subject covered by a Lawsikho course. You do not have to give an entrance test.

Imagine how it would be if you could navigate the usual legal and regulatory mess with ease, and make better decisions as you scale your business or career growth. Regulatory and legal difficulties is a huge hurdle to doing business in India, and very few people have mastery over it. Online legal courses provide an additional touch of magic to your growth.

Let us understand that moving with time is the need for today. The justice sytem of the country is lagging behind. Courts are flodded with pending cases, litigants are struggling hard to achieve the deserved end of justice. Let us utilize the advantage provided to us by the technological advancement in law. Let us increase the weight of files in the briefcase, bullets in the gun will automatically start to weigh down.

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