5 Tech Trends for the Law Firm of the Future

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on August 10, 2015 1:57 PM

Already bored with tomorrow? Want to get ahead of the next few years? Then think about bringing some cutting edge technology into your practice. It's not too hard to become George Jetson, Esq., if you're willing to be an early adopter.

Promising technology offers simple conveniences and supposedly industry changing disruptions. Here are a few tech trends that we think will alter the way firms operate in the near future.

1. Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants make scheduling meetings, arranging your calendars, tracking events and other everyday chores easier -- by putting them in the hands of a robot. Virtual assistants like x.ai's Amy Ingram can scan your inbox and schedule events by reading your email back-n-forths. If you like your help fleshy, but not present, virtual paralegals bring real, human experts your way when needed. These assistants offer practice support from afar, through the magic of telecommuting.

2. Connected Everything

You compose deposition questions on your desktop. An associate edits them from her tablet during the evening commute. Your secretary emails them out to colleagues from his phone. That's not unusual, but new technologies promise to make it easier through the use of automated updating, ambient proximity, and ever-connected devices. Sure, a lot of this tech is being squandered on syncing music libraries and Facebook check-ins, but in the future, you may be able to share notes, documents, contacts, and such between devices and colleagues with greater ease.

3. Virtual Reality

Sure, everyone wants to use virtual reality for games or other forms of mindless entertainment, but if the next big thing in tech actually takes off, it could help change the way lawyers present information. Forget using signs and diagrams to show which car was responsible for that accident. Prosecutors won't have to depend on just pictures to get jurors to imagine the scene of the crime. Slap on an Occulus Rift and, after tons of programming, you could be right there, virtually.

4. Collaborative Software

"Wait, we were working on version four of that brief? I thought it was three?" If you've had a similar conversation, don't worry -- collaborative software is getting better. It might actually be good in a few years! Instead of sending files back and forth between colleagues (and trying to remember which version is current), Slack, Microsoft's Yammer, and Salesforce's Chatter all promise to help make collaborative work a little less of a hassle.

5. Cloud Computing

Yeah, you've heard plenty about the Cloud, but that's because it really does hold a lot of promise, allowing lawyers and laymen alike to take advantage of the storage space and computing power of distant processors and server farms. While you probably won't be using cloud-based artificial intelligence in the next year or two, eDiscovery startups like Everlaw and Zapproved are already helping firms handle discovery on the cloud.

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