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Legal Tech Trends in 2018 | 6 Experts Share Their Predictions

April 24, 2018

With 2018 now underway, legal professionals need to take a close look at the impact technology will have on the way they deliver client services in the year ahead. To help bring the year’s emerging trends into focus, we’ve turned to some of the most influential and respected legal tech leaders for their predictions in 2018.

 

Jason Moyse

Jason Moyse is the manager of legal business services at Elevate Services, a firm that helps corporate legal departments with practical ways to improve efficiency, quality and outcomes.

 

2018 will be the year of…  

Hype fatigue. There is more noise than signal regarding the stated number of (viable) startups in legal and the rate of effective adoption of design thinking, process improvement, project management, AI, blockchain and software generally. Talking and doing are not the same thing.

 

What legal tech trends do you predict will emerge in 2018?

We are in for a tidal wave of liquidity events as the build versus buy decision is becoming much closer to buy as a no brainer. There will also continue to be a major shortage of engineering talent applicable to legal technology. Single point products will become less important than platforms which also tie in managed services. Smart contracts may hit the early adopter phase in 2018--the use cases are very compelling.

 

What are the biggest challenges that the legal profession will face in 2018?

An ever growing divide between affordable and unaffordable solutions for the main street legal consumer notwithstanding 'lean' operations of the providers. Few people can afford a lawyer and lawyers on the small and solo end of the equation are not making a sufficient living to justify the enormous effort required to run the business. 

 

Laura van Wyngaarden

Laura van Wyngaarden is Co-founder & COO at Diligen, the leading intelligent contract assistant platform helping law firms and lawyers to analyze contacts faster and more accurately. 

 

2018 will be the year … AI becomes a normal part of everyday legal work

 

What legal tech trends do you predict will emerge in 2018?

From global firms to solo practitioners, lawyers doing contract review will incorporate AI contract analysis into their standard review workflow. This shift will be irreversible and we won’t consider going back to manual contract review any more than we would consider abandoning email and reverting to letter writing.

 

What are the biggest challenges that the legal profession will face in 2018?

Law firms will need to adapt to deliver high quality legal work far more efficiently in the face of client pressure on legal fees. Firms that move quickly to leverage the right technology - along with the right people and processes  - will turn this challenge into an opportunity and thrive in this new legal environment.

 

Chrissie Lightfoot

Chrissie Lightfoot is the co-founder, director and CEO of Robot Lawyer LISA

2018 will be the year of... the beginning of a Golden Age for the buyer of legal services and products.

 

What legal tech trends do you predict will emerge in 2018?

As legal buyers turn to self-help and self-serve solutions like cognitive computing, AI, chatbot and blockchain solutions as alternatives to traditional lawyers and law firms, we will witness further opening up of the latent legal buyer market that many have predicted in previous years.

 

What are the biggest challenges that the legal profession will face in 2018?

Invariably the challenge for those in the legal profession is the real need to assess and possibly revise their current business models and reimagine new legal services and product offerings which are truly client-centric for existing clients whilst inventing new legal services and products

 

Mona Datt

Mona Datt is Founder & President at Loom Analytics, a legal analytics and reporting tool 

2018 will be the year of… 

The symbiosis of man and machine.

 

What legal tech trends do you predict will emerge in 2018?

We can expect to see AI become the norm and not the exception in legal processes, along with commoditization of certain legal services that can be performed more efficiently by software. We can also expect that blockchain will encroach on the ‘trust role’ currently played by lawyers.

 

What are the biggest challenges that the legal profession will face in 2018?

With the influx of AI tools that are entering the marketplace to assist lawyers in different realms of their practice, the nature of the legal profession will have to adjust so that lawyers provide the services that a machine cannot, the human perspective and the creative solutions.

 

Benjamin Alarie

Benjamin Alarie is the Co-founder & CEO at Blue J Legal, a machine learning tool for tax professionals. Ben is also the Osler Chair in Business Law, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. 2018 will be the year of…

Machine diligence. Lawyers will use new legal tech to double check their work and analysis to make sure they haven’t overlooked anything.

 

What legal tech trends do you predict will emerge in 2018?

Increased awareness of legal prediction technology, the rise of machine diligence, an increased awareness of the ethical dimensions of AI in law. 

 

What are the biggest challenges that the legal profession will face in 2018?

Understanding and believing that as legal tech increases the productivity of lawyers, that new legal tech is actually going to increase employment of lawyers, not decrease it as so many instinctively fear.

 

Andrew Arruda

Andrew Arruda is the co-founder and CEO at ROSS Intelligence. 2018 will be the year of… Increased market pressure from clients for law firms to adopt technology.

 

What legal tech trends do you predict will emerge in 2018?

As newer, more sophisticated legal technology companies continue to pick up momentum and gather market share we can expect to see the winding down of legal tech startups that emerged pre-2015 along with the acquisition of some startups.

 

What are the biggest challenges that the legal profession will face in 2018?

Continued downward pressure on the pricing of legal services combined with the continued challenges tied to clients refusing to pay for hours spent on outdated technologies will present hurdles for law firms in the coming year.

Diligen Software, Ceo Konrad Pola, COO Laura van Wijngaarden, Software Engineer Salman Tariq, Senior Machine Learning Engineer Harun Zafer. 

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