Legal Research, Digitalization & Legal Tech

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

All over the world, technology is revolutionizing the mode of doing things, and even in the legal world where critical analytical thinking, data storage, research, and argument presentation is a necessity. With the increasing level of demand for fast-paced legal services, the judiciary has to turn to technology and innovation to ease, fasten and modify legal procedures including research, data management, Data and contract analytics, and Providing tools for consumers and businesses to complete legal matters by themselves, obviating the need for a lawyer.

Research is one of the backbones of law and legal practice. Legal decisions and representation are built on research methodology and before 2011, ways of doing research, storing information, analyzing data was conditioned to journals, law libraries, law reports, and a number of analog means that are time-consuming and tedious especially in comparative and doctrinal legal research methodology. Finding primary sources of Laws in cases, statutes and regulations will normally require going through multiple documents codified in various documents spread across law libraries and other offline record sources.

The introduction of technology into legal research procedures has had its fair share of criticisms from stakeholders in the legal world widely believed to be a result of the legal industry popularly known to be conservative and traditional. Constructive criticisms, however, hold that putting delicate matters of documentation of contracts and other essentials in the hands of software, digital storage and more could be risky as a minor technological error could have significant financial consequences for a client. Amidst all this, in becoming more efficient, the modern lawyer increasingly uses electronic communication tools.

EMPIRICAL LEGAL RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The use of the empirical legal research methodology has been on the rise in recent times due to the integration of modern software to analyze and store data and information. What this simply means is, the empirical research methodology uses data analysis to carry out legal research with both the qualitative and quantitative processes.

QUANTITATIVE

Quantitative, or numerical, empirical legal research involves taking information about cases and courts, translating that information into numbers, and then analyzing those numbers with statistical tools.

QUALITATIVE

Qualitative, or non-numerical, empirical legal research involves extracting information from the text of court documents, then interpreting and organizing the text into categories, and using that information to identify patterns.


NEW & EMERGING LEGAL TECHNOLOGY

Here’s an interesting list of technological advances the legal world has seen the last decade in no particular order but these innovations have positively changed how legal processes are carried out all around the world:

ANALYTICS: This can be by far regarded as the most significant integration of technology with legal practices, as with the empirical research method. As a matter of fact, some believe that in the nearest future it will be considered unethical for lawyers not to use analytics in legal processes. The most prominent software in this niche remains LexisNexis and it’s not stopping soon, the developers of this software have found a way to integrate contextual analysis and visual search results to the function of this amazing research tool.

LEGAL PRACTICE OPTIMIZATION (LPO): This refers to various practices by legal firms with the application of legal practice optimizers to better the services rendered by firms and bolster client and attorney relationships. This initiative has been demonstrated and is a major success on many platforms with the leading one being AVVO an online platform where lawyers can easily meet attorneys for legal advice and many more…

There is also a lot of legal research websites that help legal practitioners, law students, and curious business owners and everyday people access and surf through legal information from cases, statutes, constitutions, and many more. Here’s a list to consider next time you are doing legal research:

Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute

Findlaw.com

Martindale Hubbell

CanLII

TheLaw.net

Lexis Web

LexisNexis

Westlaw

Casemaker X

Fastcase

Google Scholar

United States Code

Nolo

Legal Information Institute

Justia

Find Law

Bloomberg Law

What are your comments on the pivoting of Legal research into technology, you can be sure to leave them down here in the comments and via our mail nandtlegaltech@gmail.com




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