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How Tech Has Shifted Law Firm Division of Labor

By William Vogeler, Esq. on January 18, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Before cellphones and wearable technologies, it was odd to see someone talking to the air.

Today, other than the fashion faux pas of having bent-cigarette headphones hanging out of your ears, it seems normal. That's the evolution of technology at work.

But how is that evolution affecting work at the law firm? Is there a place for that old-time practice of law?

Division of Labor

Studies show that 23 percent of a lawyer's tasks can be automated with current technology. According to some, artificial intelligence will eventually take over many lawyer jobs.

With smart software already performing a lot of discovery, document preparation and research, time is running out on the old way of doing things around the law firm. Those who don't adapt are finding out the meaning of "survival of the fittest."

Mark Cohen, writing for Forbes, says technology is "transforming every segment of the legal ecosystem." That includes workforce, training, and division of labor.

"Demand for law firms is flat in an expanding market for legal services," he said. "An increasingly bright line separating legal practice and delivery expertise is turning the traditional law firm partnership model on its head."

Business Is Booming

The market is flat for some lawyers, but legal tech is booming.

Kevin O'Keefe, writing for Above the Law, says the last several years have bought "a slew of legal tech companies and software solutions."

According to Law Sites, the legal startups number is up to 668. There is a smart device for practically everything -- even a robot to control your other robots.

Fortunately for lawyers -- especially the less tech-savvy -- the courtroom is still a refuge for humans. Judges don't even allow cellphones, much less robots, in there.

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