The Changing Face of Legal Practice
The practice of law has changed greatly in recent years. The impact of technology has been widespread. This does not just relate to communications but to issues that naturally arise because of the availability of information.
Just as in other areas of life, the easy availability of information through the Internet means that the public is more generally informed. In politics, politicians can no longer, as easily, pull the wool over the eyes of the electorate. Patients can quickly find out the impact of treatment they are receiving and clients are able to find out about legal issues which are exhaustively represented on the Internet.
The availability of information is to be enormously welcomed, but the interpretation and presentation of that information often leaves much to be desired. This can often become "fake news".
That same availability of information changes the practice of law. In the past, information from legislation and cases would mean leafing through huge tomes of paper. With modern searching methods and cross-referencing, it is far simpler to address these ever increasing amounts of legal information.
The net result of these changes is that both the questions and the answers in relation to a lot of legal matters have become more complex in recent times. Skills such as problem solving and project management are now far more important because research is more accessible but also produces voluminous and, sometimes contradictory, results.
Trainee Solicitors at McVey and Murricane are asked to develop their skills within these areas. These types of skills and, inevitably, hard work are key parts of their training.
It is very rewarding when clients make gestures to acknowledge effort by our trainee solicitors; pictured is trainee Tay Montgomery with some edible delights from Marks & Spencer presented by a grateful client.
But as trainees such as Tay progress further in their legal life, the next set of technological changes will fundamentally impact the practice of law. Artificial Intelligence has enormous application to the law particularly in those areas involving research and interpretation of the law. As in other areas, this will probably result in less administration but a greater focus on problem resolution.
Artificial Intelligence may also be able to solve the difficulty that modern economies have in providing legal aid to enable an open availability of justice to everybody. The greater availability of technology means that poor rules and legislation are quickly exposed. This in turn places a greater emphasis upon lawmakers. It all amounts to a continuum of change which, currently, is a challenge for lawmakers to encompass successfully.