Legal Tech Trends 2024 by AJS

What does 2024 have in store?

Part I – Legal Tech Expectations

As we set sail on the seas of 2024, a lot of us are keen to know what course has been charted for us. No one likes going on a journey without knowing the what’s and when’s that inevitably follow suit.

As a legal tech company, the legal tech landscape is crucial to us. We always look towards the horizon of the new year with hopes and plans for how AJS will look during the year – what we already offer and how we could possibly better – what is already – a pretty amazing offering (if we do say so ourselves). 

And with the way the world is moving, with law firms and legal departments alike embracing tech and the convenience it offers, our clients and readers are sure to be interested in what 2024 holds. Or at least what we think it will hold. 

With that said – legal tech needing very little introduction, pomp, or pageantry – let’s take a look at what the legal tech world has to offer us in 2024. 

The rise of AI  

Artificial Intelligence or AI has had a massive impact on the tech landscape worldwide. What is it you may be wondering? We demystified what AI is in our article Understanding Tech Buzzwords: Like AI

Artificial intelligence or AI is according to Builtin –

“a wide-ranging branch of computer science concerned with building smart machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. While AI is an interdisciplinary science with multiple approaches, advancements in machine learning and deep learning, in particular, are creating a paradigm shift in virtually every sector of the tech industry.

Artificial intelligence allows machines to model, or even improve upon, the capabilities of the human mind. And from the development of self-driving cars to the proliferation of generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, AI is increasingly becoming part of everyday life — and an area companies across every industry are investing in”.

And it’s already being used in everyday applications like ChatGPT, Google Maps, in Snapchat filters and Smart Assistants like Alexa or Siri. 

But that’s not where it stops. According to Mediate, “the use of AI will expand in legal departments, law schools and even the highest court in the country”.

Mediate goes on further to add that while “Lawyers were sanctioned and scolded by judges in 2023 for using generative AI to write legal briefs, and in some cases were required to disclose the use of AI”, 2024 will be a completely different ballgame.

The prediction here is that AI will be used to draft court papers that will be submitted to the highest courts in the land. And here’s the kicker – the Courts won’t even notice whether it was drafted by AI or a real-life human lawyer.

Legal professionals are also expected to spend less time preparing for court. How you may ask? Well, the prediction here is that AI can handle the technical as well as the procedural aspects of a matter. And this – as you can imagine – will allow lawyers to focus on the substance of the matter, the nitty gritty of the matter and apply their mind properly to each case they manage. 

We have already seen this in action. With document automation, workflow automation and project management as offered by AJS’s XpressDox and AJS’s FLOW respectively.

But the future of AI in the legal space is set to skyrocket, with Mediate setting out – 

“With the increase of mainstream adoption, [more] user friendly interfaces and data challenges will create a perfect storm,” Casey wrote. “The delta between linear e-discovery and AI-powered will become so great that failure to leverage this efficiency will no longer be tenable.”

It would seem that the easier it becomes to use AI, the more AI will be used. But with this new ease and extent of use, comes the inevitable ethical obligation of using AI. 

In fact, according to Darrow

“In 2023 we saw both the use and development of AI take off and become more mainstream than in the past. And this increased awareness and usage naturally prompted many important conversations, discussions, and debates about the ethical considerations of AI. In late 2023, we saw the first AI-related legislation: US President Joe Biden’s executive order on the safe, secure, and trustworthy development, and use of AI. 

We can already see many laws, worldwide, starting to come into play. In 2024 we expect to see more regulation emerge, with Nasdaq stating that “Some analysts view new artificial intelligence policy and regulations as almost guaranteed to arrive in 2024.” Attorneys need to keep up with the developments in technology, and this surge in regulation to ensure companies’ compliance, as the regulatory ecosystem evolves”. 

Darrow has a further prediction insofar as AI is concerned. As every legal mind can imagine, with increased use, comes increased risk and with increased risk comes a whole barrel of litigation that could follow with the incorrect use of AI. Darrow sets out as follows – 

“But not only do we expect to see more regulation, with new technology comes litigation. Adopters of these new technologies risk breaking the law, due to not properly understanding the ways in which these technologies work. Dr. Joy Boilamwini, Founder of the Algorithmic Justice League and someone who has been vocal about the ethical implications of AI for decades, recently shared a prediction that we will see a growing number of class action lawsuits in 2023, due to companies adopting AI systems based on data taken without consent. This is definitely a trend for plaintiff’s attorneys to look out for in the coming years”.

So, from where we’re standing AI will become a big part of the everyday lives of lawyers and legal professionals around the globe in 2024. But users need to be cautious lest they become embroiled in litigation that they can ill afford. 

The legal profession also needs to keep their eyes peeled and their ears to the ground in order to keep well and truly up to date with the developments in regulation and laws for AI. 

2024 is shaping up to be a seemingly forward-thinking year with exciting developments ahead…

Where can you find further info on what to expect from 2024?

Besides looking out for Part II of this series dealing with legal tech trends, you could also attend one of the following tech conferences (as set out by InfoTrack) – 

“ABA Tech Show

Chicago, Illinois – February 14 – 17, 2024

As an education-focused event, the ABA Tech Show is the perfect setting to learn about the intersection of law and technology.

While this year’s agenda has not been finalized, past Tech Shows have offered an impressive array of speakers both from traditional law firm settings as well as from some of the companies working feverishly to bring the legal industry on the forefront of technology.

Legal Up

Virtual — April 24 – 25, 2024

Legal Up is a 2-day virtual conference for all types of legal professionals who want to level up their careers in terms of wellness, marketing, technology, and more.

This was a virtual event before virtual events were cool, and being location-independent is one of the biggest advantages of this conference. Without needing to worry about flights, hotels, or extra time away from work, you can easily set aside the time to learn and network in a hassle-free environment.

With over five hours of available CLE credits and a 99% “would recommend” rate, it’s hard to find a good reason not to virtually attend this annual event.

2024 World Technology Law Conference

Washington, D.C. – May 8 – 10, 2024

The World Technology Law Conference, which is hosted by the International Technology Law Association, connects you with a global community of people who are interested in both law and technology.

While the details were still being worked out at the time of this post, this conference is a perfect opportunity for the growing number of legal professionals with global practices that rely on state-of-the-art technology to keep track of clients, courtrooms, and issues across multiple time zones.

ILTACON

Nashville, Tennessee – August 11-15, 2024

The International Legal Technology Association Conference is known as one of the best networking events for legal professionals of all kinds.

Very few details have been announced regarding this year’s event at the time of this publication. Nonetheless, ILTACON is a longstanding favourite convention among lawyers and other legal professionals. You can expect a valuable conference with a strong focus on technology”.

There is also the Legal Innovation and Tech Fest 

South Africa – November 4-5, 2024

The LITF is a group of global and South African legal specialists focused on innovative technology and ideas that revolutionize the operations of law firms and in-house legal teams.

These conferences promise to be educational, informative, and very interesting indeed. 

It’s time to tech up!

(Sources used and to whom we give thanks: Lexology; Darrow; Mediate; legalfutures; InfoTrack and Techfestivals). 

To find out how to incorporate a new tool or tech trend into your existing accounting and practice management suite, feel free to get in touch with AJS – we have the right combination of systems, resources and business partnerships to assist you with incorporating supportive legal technology into your practice. Effortlessly. 

AJS is always here to help you, wherever and whenever possible!

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