Justice systems worldwide are under increasing pressure as legal complexity rises and more people rightfully demand access to justice. Digital transformation is the key for courts to keep pace. Digital justice is an immense chance to improve the lives of millions of people, but only if the technology is understood and implemented fast.
Globally, the digitalization of justice systems is just beginning and generally lagging behind the digital transformation of the rest of society. This has led to a widening gap between the expected user experience for both consumers and businesses and the actual services provided by the courts.
The current state of digital justice can be understood using an adapted version of the three-layer framework previously developed for private legal technology: It differentiates between enabler, process support, and substantial law solutions. Compared to other parts of the legal system, courts and public offices are several years behind in technology adoption. Despite recent incentives to innovate during the COVID-19 pandemic, even economically strong countries such as Germany risk missing the boat when it comes to future readiness. Insufficient hardware and software infrastructure, budget issues, a hindering mindset, and fear of personal disadvantages among stakeholders are all to blame.
Austria, Canada, Singapore, and the United Kingdom are leading in justice digitalization. They demonstrate several key traits that help make for the successful digital transformation of a justice system. Adoption of software development best practices from the private sector, early, strong, and decisive leadership, user-centricity, and openness to process optimization and data-based strategies have helped them manage the relevant changes.
Digital justice enables faster, more efficient case management and the effective resolution of legal conflicts, better working conditions within courts, and greater access to the legal system. Countries that strive for these positive results require a bold vision at the outset, a purposefully designed governance, and an adapted legal framework to ring in the required paradigm shift. For help, they can tap into a young generation of judges, clerks, and other civil servants eager to bet on technology to advance their country and their careers.
In-house legal departments currently face a series of new challenges. While complexity and the amount of legal work are on the rise, legal department budgets continue to shrink.
More and more companies set up Legal Operations teams to face these challenges and improve the efficiency of their legal department.
A new study by The Boston Consulting Group and Bucerius Law School looks at theoretical foundations and practical implications of this approach. The authors have interviewed close to 50 pioneers in the space and evaluated prior studies.
The study includes an overview of activities that are typical of Legal Operations functions, a look at the typical levers used to make legal departments more efficient using Legal Operations, as well as examples of the improvements that can be achieved by implementing a Legal Operations function. The study also contains ideas on how to successfully implement a Legal Operations function in a company and institutional obstacles that can be in its way. To conclude, the authors describe the implications of this shift for external counsel in law firms and law companies. These points are illustrated using case studies of companies and law firms from the U.S. and Germany.
The amount of data relevant for law practice is growing continually. Therefore, the skill of assembling, analyzing and interpreting data will be decisive for the long-term success of law firms in the future.
It is estimated that software will be able to adequately perform about 30–50% of tasks usually assigned to junior lawyers, which puts more and more legal industry jobs in danger.
Legal Technology enables the digitalization and automatization of workflows using software, such as the automatic evaluation of contracts, case management, and the automation of back office work. Few German law firms use Legal Technology, and there are few Legal Technology startups in Germany.
This is a conclusion reached by the Bucerius Center on the Legal Profession (CLP) and The Boston Consulting Group in their study “How Legal Technology Will Change the Business of Law”. The authors interviewed 50 partners at big law firms, including at the largest nine law firms in Germany by sales. Additionally, they asked entrepreneurs in the Legal Technology space about the implications of Legal Technology on the business model of big law firms.