It’s my favorite time of year: time to predict legal tech trends for the next year (don’t judge me). Here’s what we can expect in legal tech in 2017:
While Blockchain is in its infancy, as Bettina Warburg states in the Ted Talk below, the conversations and tests of its application will be a big part of 2017. While fintech will likely be the first adopter, the legal tech industry will not be far behind.
Facebook recently launched it’s API for the development of bots in Messenger. More and more businesses will take advantage of this release and other bot platforms, but legal tech is already ahead of the curve. One chatbot was developed by a Stanford student and helps fight your parking tickets successfully.
More AI and Better AI
We heard a lot about AI in the legal marketplace the past year. Law firms are hiring robot lawyers and the technology lawyers are using is getting more complex and is automating menial tasks. 2017 will be even better. Technology tends to become better and cheaper quickly (see Moore’s Law), and 2016 was a prelude for what’s to come in 2017 for AI.
More Tech Savvy Lawyers
In the ABA Legal Technology Survey, lawyers showed that they are pretty well versed in technology, but 2017 will see an even higher adoption rate because more tools will be available in 2017 and law firm structures are changing (think virtual practice and working remotely). Also, client expectations and various state bar rules requiring that lawyers become familiar with technology will dictate the adoption rate, and those who adopt the technology will fare better in the market.
Law Schools Will Teach Technology to Lawyers
While industry rules and client expectations will force lawyers to adapt and adopt technology, law schools will have to jump on the bandwagon and introduce lawyers to technology early on. Legal tech companies are already partnering up with law schools to introduce technology into the classroom and various schools are introducing not just legal technology, but new methods of problems solving skills to train the next generation of lawyers.*
*I had the sheer pleasure of meeting Professor Bridgesmith and learned about his amazing course “Legal Project Management” for future lawyers at Vanderbilt. He’s also a blockchain expert.