Digital Transformation in Legal Industry (legal Tech) – LegalE

Hello Digital...

Digital transformation is the single biggest trend of our generation, both, in scale and scope. The rise of smart phones coupled with cheap data costs has truly accelerated this digital journey. This has led to the creation some of the biggest companies in the world like Apple, Amazon, Alphabet (owns Google, YouTube, Android OS etc.), Meta (owns Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp etc.), and Microsoft (owns Windows OS, LinkedIn etc.). This has made personal computing accessible to more number of people and has dramatically increased the opportunities on the digital space. It is safe to say we live in a digital first world.  

Digital Everywhere

To understand the scope of this digital transformation, let us look at the simple task of opening a savings bank account. Ten or even five years ago, this meant filling up a bunch of applications, signing at hundred different places, couple of visits to the bank and a whole lot of frustration. Apart from being slow, this whole process is also prone to errors and therefore, causes delays in the processing of the application. The situation has completely changed with the emergence of neo banking apps. These neo banks operate entirely online, do not have any physical branches and it takes just 20 minutes to open a savings account through their mobile App. Once a customer provides basic information and uploads a photograph through the mobile camera, his/her identity authenticated via Aadhaar and One Time Password (OTP), the account is ready to use and customer will receive a welcome package along with Debit card. The impact this has created in the banking industry is evident from the fact that even established banks such as HDFC and ICICI Bank have also started offering similar services to their customers. 

Digital is touching every aspect of our lives and has completely redefined the way we look at certain products, processes and services. We have Edutech platforms like UpGrad, Coursera, Udemy etc. offering online courses ranging from one (1) month diplomas to full two-year Masters programs for very affordable prices. We have brands like Swiggy, Zomato, Big Basket and several local delivery Apps have become household names across Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities of the Country. Amazon and Flipkart have managed to build a consumer centric e-commerce experience that is hassle free (mostly!) and paved the way for other e-commerce websites. Apps like MakeMyTrip, GoIbibo, AirBnB let you make all your travel arrangements online. With the rise of streaming giants such as Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube etc. Even the entertainment industry has largely adopted the hybrid approach of producing content for theatres as well as for digital OTT platforms. Most importantly, we spend most of our time on social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. For most people, their work requires them to stay connected in some way (looking at you, WhatsApp!). These Apps are the driving engines of today’s digital economy and with the upcoming metaverse wave, this transition to a digital economy will be complete. From social media to e-commerce to video conferencing, every service is available as an App. Further advancements in emerging technologies such as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are going to revolutionize the next generation experiences and will help us solve more complex problems. 

Rise of LegalTech

In the legal industry, the government has kickstarted the digitization process through initiatives among which, India Code (official digital repository of all Central and State Acts), E-courts services (online case information system), online case filing system (e-filing), online portal for filing for corporates are some of the most successful digital undertakings.  

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, seemingly out of nowhere, the entire world was up against an invisible and deadly enemy. Most major cities in the world went into lockdowns and suddenly, everyone found themselves at home, working remotely! Industries like Information technology services, education, and others were able to shift to a virtual work environment almost overnight, and those industries that were not able to transition immediately adopted the system in phases and eventually were able to continue their operations.  

The legal industry was no different. Supreme Court of India acted quickly and shifted its entire operations into virtual mode. Soon, all High Courts and subordinate Courts followed suit and started functioning entirely through video conferencing Apps. Lawyers and litigants were instructed to scan and file their cases electronically. With the help of several existing Apps, the entire ecosystem was able to stay up and running without any disruption. This was a watershed moment in the history of the Indian judiciary as it established the obvious benefits of the adoption of technology. Although this was brought about by an unfortunate circumstance, this has shown us a glimpse into the future of the legal services industry for both lawyers as well as litigants.  

The trend of digitization for the legal sector was at a stage of influx before the pandemic and has now entered a state of overdrive, with the emergence of several new-age legal tech companies. Smartphones, laptops, and high-speed internet have become must-haves for every lawyer. Most lawyers already use online cloud services to store files, use MS word to draft petitions, look up bare Acts on their mobiles, conduct research online, communicate with clients on WhatsApp, and exchange files through email. However, all these are generic tools built for performing certain tasks and may not exactly suit the purpose of a lawyer. Generic Apps only solve the problem partially and often, the user has to adjust his way out of the situation by finding a temporary workaround. This has presented an opportunity to develop a secure workspace ecosystem based on the latest cyber security practices to facilitate better sharing, communication, and collaboration for all the stakeholders including lawyers, litigants, and judges.  

We understand that this digital transformation journey is multi-layered and may offer up different experiences to different people. However, LegalE is committed to providing a seamless, high-quality experience for all the stakeholders in the legal system, as we believe a well-oiled legal system is essential for any society to prosper. Your digital transformation journey will begin with LegalE