Technical advancement and support have played a significant role in how legal practitioners have responded to the challenges faced by the global pandemic. With restrictions on physical contact, technical advancement has been the difference between some law firms weathering the storm or shutting their doors in certain instances.
However, have the effects of such advancement changed the way legal practitioners do business in a less obvious way?
I have previously commented on the appearance of current legal trends pushing the profession in directions and into areas of practice that we did not previously find ourselves in. Interestingly enough, more than areas of law, we have recently witnessed technological advancement resulting in less traditional business arrangements.
The ease of communication has allowed partnerships that may not have previously existed to come into being. For example, through the conclusion of various contractual arrangements, law firms may offer services not previously thought to be part of legal services, from an outsourced service provider to their clients. Arrangements such as these appear to be allowing for practitioners to access client markets not previously accessible.
Although arrangements such as the above have not necessarily been non-existent or unattainable, the recent spike in technological advancement and interest appears to have made these arrangements more common.
In addition to same, competition and the need to have the edge over other players in the field will always play a role in innovation. It further cannot be denied that technological advancement also appears to have benefitted the profession with improved file management systems, legal template generators, online document submission at court and general efficacy in the field.
Legal practice in South Africa has undergone a number of reforms in recent years, with plenty of changes yet to come. In addition to regulatory and ethical reform, it will be interesting to observe the further effects that technological advancement has on practitioners and the profession.
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