Could AI be better lawyers

Legal Tech, for family lawyers explains: "Not just more clients, but better ones"

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LTO: When it comes to communication, the special electronic attorney mailbox is currently high on the agenda. Or, even if the “scene” does not necessarily create this context, is the BeA not “legal tech” from your point of view?

Bertram: Of course, it is certainly the most popular legal tech product at the moment. And of course the most relevant, because from January 1, 2018, all lawyers must be reachable via the mailbox.

Even if the interface to the law firm software is still missing at the moment, the lawyers have to deal with the BeA. In the course of our seminar we found that not only questions about the process are completely unanswered, but also about the why of certain things. Many lawyers are not even clear about the process of ordering cards, initial registration and using the electronic signature - and they certainly do not know what they can do differently or better, for example with the different equipment. And so many of them who have no basis for decision-making due to a lack of information only order the minimum equipment. The more familiar with it, the more the system helps you.

LTO: What do you think a lawyer should do - besides beA - to be prepared for the future? Which instruments should he play - and what budget, what amount of time, what external support does he have to plan for?

Bertram: That is very different for different people and personalities, but also for law firms of different sizes and also depends on personal ambition and on whether and what you can - and want to do - yourself. But all of them have to be findable on the internet, set up properly for electronic filing and automate their text processing.

"Website, lawyer directory, electronic files, digital text editing"

LTO: But it can be more specific: three things that are essential for the lawyer who wants to be successful tomorrow - and how to approach them.

Bertram: In order to meet the minimum requirements in the area of ​​acquisition, you need a law firm website that is reasonably ranked in the search engines. There are packages with which you can create a website for a one-time price of around 600 euros and have it serviced for a further 30 euros a month so that it is search engine optimized (SEO and SEA).

A well-maintained profile in lawyers' directories such as anwalt.de or anwalt24.de * is essential for easy findability on the Internet. In the best case, this means that you not only ensure that your own data is always up-to-date - what the portal does otherwise, in the rarest of cases, of course, as well as you do. You should rather regularly write texts on topics that clients and interest potential new clients. This increases the findability enormously.

When it comes to social networks, I would make a distinction: At least one should be represented in professional networks such as Xing, and in international work also with LinkedIN. Facebook, on the other hand, offers the advantage of being well playable in specific regions - but also the disadvantage that a professional appearance requires very regular support with good, specifically tailored content. If there is a strong regional focus, entries in the digital editions of "Das Oertliche" and telephone books may still help.

In the second step, you should prepare yourself for electronic file management and electronic legal transactions in order to be able to communicate electronically with courts and clients in the future. You can use ready-made texts and online research from digital legal libraries such as jurion.de * or databases such as beck-online.de, manage files electronically in law firm management systems and communicate with clients via platforms such as jurato.de or webakte. de lead.

LTO: And do you think all of this falls under the term "legal tech"?

Bertram: With the exception of the specific automation of briefs in law firms, these are all topics that we know from our everyday private lives. Internet shopping, electronic communication and a certain behavior when searching for services on the Internet are everyday technology to which we are used. It's not rocket science: If you become aware of your own search and communication behavior and transfer it to the client's perspective, you can gain a lot of client proximity - with technology. Or with Legal Tech, if you will.

Ole Bertram is division manager Jurion at Wolters Kluwer and advisor for digital transformation and legal tech.

The interview was conducted by Pia Lorenz.

* A product from Wolters Kluwer, which also includes LTO.

Pia Lorenz, Legal Tech, for family lawyers explains: "Not just more clients, but better ones". In: Legal Tribune Online, July 29, 2017 https://www.lto.de/persistent/a_id/23304/ (accessed on: 24.05.2021)

Information on the suggested citation
  • Across disciplines, the Legal Tech tools have two aspects, both of which have what it takes to completely turn the legal services market upside down.

    On the one hand, it actually fires the legalization of everyday life. Passenger rights are a small example. The vast majority of passengers have simply shied away from asserting their rights in front of various legal tech companies that offer convenient services over the web. Now, if you are successful, you have to share a good part of the compensation with Legal Tech - but X € success commission of X € compensation is still more than X € of nothing. The question for the mass of passengers was never "I go to the lawyer and sue the airline and take the cost risk and initial consultation fee and possibly make legal protection insurance and an appointment with the lawyer and go and see" or "Legal Tech" but "Legal Tech or even Nothing".

    This is just a foretaste of what will come with the advancing possibilities of technology. Because air travel is particularly suitable here, since all the flight data have long been recorded in general flight databases anyway and the IT of Legal Tech only has to automatically compare the parameters of the Passenger Rights Ordinance with the parameters of a specific flight number, so the claim has basically already been checked and only has to be transmitted to the airline in a semi-automated manner and enforced. In some cases, legal techs already have direct IT interfaces to more cooperative airlines - they know they have to pay anyway, so they want to at least minimize the associated process costs. Also something that no traditional law firm can fall back on in this form, but I digress.

    On the other hand, the demands on the individual lawyer increase enormously. Because all of the "routine work" of very limited technical depth is gradually taken over by IT. What then remains of the IT with prepared problems will demand all the more of the legal expertise. And some of those who have lived well from pushing "small things" over their desk up to now are also technically overwhelming, so that for some lawyers the question will arise whether they are still needed at all. In any case, the cake is getting smaller, that could be quite a "blow and prick" in the legal profession, even with an unclear outcome. So the fetish "predicate exam", which has been cultivated so far, is called into question when the 11-point predicate lawyer may be able to use his smartphone wonderfully, but has little or no idea about IT (even "digital natives" don't all learn programming on the side) , put it in an exaggerated way), but in the future it should always be a decisive competitive advantage to always know exactly what IT can do (according to the latest state of the art) in order to cope with as much workload as possible partially automatically with IT and thus faster and cheaper than the competition to be or, conversely, to achieve more surplus than the competition with the usual market prices in the legal services market.

    It will be a core competence of the lawyer, as indispensable as the safe handling of the legal commentary, to be able to assess in a technical context exactly how far one can use IT in each case in order to maximize productivity (something that cannot be outsourced to computer scientists, they lack the legal background - you can of course try, but you will never achieve such optimal results as the lawyer, who at the same time has in-depth IT knowledge). At the universities, on the other hand, this does not yet play a role at all, and it would be a good idea to cooperate with the computer science faculty of the respective university at least in the context of individual events. So far, however, if you have not otherwise acquired IT skills yourself, you only learn how to use Word to put footnotes in law with regard to IT.

    Atlas
    • I find this sentence too funny, even the digital native doesn't always learn to program. He doesn't have to, and never will have to, as long as he doesn't want to develop "legal tech". Products that require developer skills to be used will not gain acceptance. Keyword intuitive user interface.
      Our work will gradually be digitized and thus accelerated. In the past, without Beck-Online (admittedly: I no longer actively know the time), legal research should have been more tedious and demanding than it is today. In the past, people used to argue about the size of the ad in the phone book for acquisition, nowadays there are rental websites, lawyer portals, social media channels, YouTube teaser videos, ... commonplace.
      You don't have to be a programmer for this, you have to be open to new ideas and, if necessary, seek reasonable advice from experts in digitization. The lawyer can and must remain a lawyer and not try to deal with the technical side at the same time. This is a basic principle of the division of labor in society.

    • That's not what it says there either, but "said in an exaggerated way".

      To stick to their examples, a lawyer today can say I am not concerned with office software, that paralegals should do that, why is there a division of labor? Or reject the question of whether you are fluent in English with reference to full-time translators and the division of labor? Times just change. You too will belong to the scrap heap if you stubbornly refuse to do so.

      The level of what is required of technical competence will continue to increase. As before. And you can argue against it for a long time, if it is a competitive advantage then you are at a disadvantage. Like now when you just stutter or can't handle Excel in English.

      Counter-speeches are wishful thinking for me, sorry.

    • And there it comes, the counter-speech. I don't want to refuse to use it. I only assume that the technologies will not catch on in the masses if they can only be used by the developer (or someone with comparable knowledge). In my opinion, no lawyer has to fear such divisional products. The technologies that can also be used for not entirely backward-looking technologies can certainly be exploited better by one than the other (you can, for example, get very different amounts of good information from the relevant legal databases).
      The point that I wanted to get at with the society based on the division of labor was that there will also be tool developers (programmers, software designers, AI specialists, ...) on the one hand and users (lawyers, private individuals, companies / legal departments) in the future. As a user, I cannot afford to get involved with the new tools that the developers are making available to me. At least not on those who establish themselves in the market. But nobody will ever ask me to develop it myself. To stay with the Office example: Of course, I have to master the extended basic functions of Office (for the weird things, paralegals may still be helpful). But it would be hopelessly uneconomical if I were to study computer science at the same time as law, so that later on I would be able to program my office suite myself before I could write my pleading in it. When I do that, I am slower and, if in doubt, worse (because intellectual capacities are limited) than a fully qualified IT specialist and fully qualified lawyer.

  • Legal tech again. Yawn !! Fashion topic without any relevance.

    Legal Tech
  • Here, too, we lawyers have the homemade problem with our fixation on the uniform lawyer. In other departments there have long been B. pronounced business informatics or medical informatics, a completely new medical faculty is currently being set up in Augsburg, which will have medical informatics as a focus. Even the cross-sectional subject of commercial law has a comparatively difficult status to this day, less technical but more in terms of prestige, among lawyers - it is hard to think of the fact that legal informatics is being expanded significantly under the current circumstances. From some pioneers such as B. Fritjof Haft aside, almost nothing happens.

    In the end, I therefore suspect that the Anglo-Saxon legal techs will conquer the German market and divide it up among themselves. German law firms already had comparatively little to oppose the large firms in the "classic" business; they work too agile and flexible and service-oriented in comparison with the more sedate and "we have always done it this way, everyone could come" - bureaucratic mentality of many German lawyers. The market share in the area of ​​particularly attractive mandates with the highest hourly rates of major Anglo-Saxon law firms in this country is correspondingly large.

    And German lawyers are (almost) completely oversleeping the legal tech development. There will be a lot of howling and chattering of teeth when the Anglo-Saxons force their way onto the market and, in terms of processing speed and costs, leave the German lawyers, with their "manual, pre-industrial" way of working, far behind. Thanks to the computer-assisted processes that minimize "expensive legal working time" per case.

    Eric
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