TECHNOLOGY CHANGING THE LEGAL DISCOURSE

“We should remember that the jurisdictional issues existed when it was only paper. The cloud merely makes them bigger.”

― James Francis

Today, law is considered to be the most sought-after professions in the world. Law, legal education and development have become inter-related concepts in modern developing societies. In the present era, technology is encroaching each and every field; learning and developing law with technology gives an edge to legal professionals over other disciplines. Law being an interdisciplinary profession, in the present e-age, connectivity with other disciplines like medical, engineering, commerce, finance, and humanities has given a wider spread to legal sector. In the present age of technology and science, one should expect to give a warm welcome, perhaps a permanent home, to science in our courtroom procedures. The legal disputes before us increasingly involve the principles and tools of science and the proper resolution of these disputes is essential not just for the litigants, but also to the general public who live in our technologically complex society and indeed want justice to be served.

The increasing reliance on technology whether it be through forensic science in a criminal case, food testing in an adulteration case or data protection in cases of privacy, has led to the need of imbibing the technical know-how into one’s legal knowledge, skills and profession. Whether it is biotechnology, pharmacy and intellectual property rights or digital privacy, health care, energy and environment policy, many legal specializations emerge from and rest on scientific foundations. Although a combination of law and technology is referred to as an oxymoron, but it is actually a bitter sweet experience with enhanced results. Studying law after science improves and nourishes your analytical ability, planned execution, application of mind and various other skills that help in laying the foundation in legal profession.

Implanting Technology in Legal Education

What was available in library in the past is available at the touch of a screen today. The accessibility to knowledge resources has increased tremendously leading to the enhanced exposure and skill-building of the law students. Knowledge is no more confined to the class-rooms but is gained through actual implementation of the propositions posed. Right from teaching pedagogy, sailing through the turmoil of practicality, dynamism in the growth of professional education has taken a widespread course with the aid of technology. As is rightly said, “Technique is what you fall back on when you run out of inspiration….”, the concept of flipped classrooms has generated an interest and confidence amongst the students leading to the development of emotional intelligence. Now-a-days, besides knowledge, other skills such as client care, leadership, ability to work as a team, project management, impressive presentations, marketing self and above all attitude to showcase are much focussed upon which constantly develops through exposure on e-space, interactions with professional leaders and building industry relationships. Platforms like linkedin, lawctopus, latestlaws, etc. have created a niche space for the budding lawyers to showcase their skills, hunt for good opportunities and create a market of their own. India being a developing nation is far behind the other developed nations where enrolment, impartation as well as evaluation happens online. Technology is also used as a medium of communication and one-to-one interaction through video conferencing and thus, reduces the geographical gaps between the tutor and the tutee. Apart from regular degree courses, online certificate courses serve as good resource for specialized knowledge gain. The generation is finally moving from knowledge acquisition index to technical proficiency index irrespective of the area of study.

Reaping Technology in Legal Profession

From automation to outsourcing, from associates to law firms, from chambers to web pages, law has become a tool in the hands of the people through the use of technology. Different avenues available to the legal professionals are gifted to them by advancements in and adaptation to technology. The procedures have changed from court rooms to outside the court through alternate methods of dispute resolution. The lawyers, paralegals, project managers, co-operatives, entrepreneurs, researchers, policy makers, social workers, all are driven by their ability interface with their clients and vendors. Pointing towards technology, Chrissie Lightfoot, author of The Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer, listed the year 2018 as the year when technology can do 80% of the work the lawyers do. The legal profession is changing its shape from the pyramid to the rocket shaped structure where majority of the lawyers will enjoy equal positions rather than being termed as juniors. With standardization and systematization of traditional legal services with the technical innovations, the legal discourse has become readily available with the clients with more competition in the market in terms of facilitation and clarity of the expertise involved in the matter. The abolition of the boundaries has given rise to globalisation of legal services and creation of a third jurisdiction like the CLOUD.

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