Analytics, Blockchain & OCR
Your clients are ever-focused on their legal spend. And, as a result, they demand more value from your services. As alternative legal service providers fuel your competitive landscape, your practice could lose clients and revenue if you can’t deliver the value they’re looking for.
Thomson Reuters’ 2018 Report on the State of the Legal Market surmised that declining profit margins, weakening collections, falling productivity, and loss of market share to alternative legal service providers are chipping away at the foundations of firm profitability.
Is Your Law Firm Prepared? Are You Using Analytics, Blockchain and OCR Yet?
To stay competitive and differentiate your practice from competitors, you must improve operational efficiencies and transform the way you and your staff interact with clients, answer their questions, and tackle their legal challenges.
When automation and digitization technologies are used to reduce workloads, you and your staff can spend more time advising your clients and less time with administrative work. Those lawyers who embrace technology as a means to provide more cost-effective and value-based services to their clients will have a competitive advantage.
Manually reviewing contracts is time and resource consuming. But today we have Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies and new-machine learning capabilities that provide natural language processing to comprehends and extract entities, facts, and relationships from complex contracts. Artificial intelligence is also changing the way law firms do business and interact with clients. It’s more than legal technology – it’s revolutionizing the legal profession.
Text analytics technology uses AI and natural language processing to extract critical business intelligence required by other systems of record. It has the ability to speed read documents with server recognition, data capture and natural language processing. Third-party, micro-services identify key sections, clauses, entities and facts from contracts and other complex, sectioned business documents.
Terms, obligations and opportunities within contracts are the critical input for a limitless number of systems, including contract lifecycle management systems, accounting, procurement, logistics, HR, and more. With text analytics, contracts are sectioned with headers or titles for each section to help you and your staff understand otherwise disparate pages of text.
Today, contract obligations are entered into many enterprise systems. This means that you and your staff need to review everything–a cumbersome endeavor for small law firms. With manual review, you risk missing deadlines. But with smart, efficient contract analytics you can automatically identify and highlight obligations quickly and easily. Text analytics provides a needed technology to comply with new regulations and can deliver the business value you need.
A second technology that’s transforming the legal field is blockchain. Blockchain refers to a digitized financial ledger where information blocks are connected in chains through cryptography. It records data across a peer-to-peer network and can see data and verify or reject it using consensus algorithms. Data that’s approved is entered into the ledger as a collection of “blocks” and is stored in a chronological “chain” that cannot be altered.
One of the new terms associated with blockchain is smart contracts. These are self-executing agreements based on blockchain technology that’s performed automatically. It triggers actions or payments when certain conditions are met. It’s thought that in the near future, smart contracts will use real-time information, such as asset GPS data, to trigger an event, such as transferring of ownership and funds.
Other legal areas can benefit from blockchain technology such as intellectual property and chain of custody. Anything that uses digital files can benefit from blockchain technology.
With some practice and experience, you can become hugely successful using blockchain technology. And it’s relatively easy to enter this field, as there are no legal requirements such as licenses or certifications for you to worry about.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) converts documents, such as scanned paper documents, PDF (portable document format) files or images captured by a digital camera into editable and searchable data. Law firms have been using OCR and PDF software for some time now. It increases business productivity when working with documents.
OCR allows you to access and modify information that’s locked in paper-based documents and PDFs. It can be very useful during litigation when documents must be collected and reviewed prior to presenting to opposing counsel.
OCR and PDF software makes life easier when converting and comparing documents. You can digitize, manage and extract text passages without retyping or reformatting them. Case records, writs, pleading, patents, contracts and mandate files can all be digitized.
And, you know that it’s critical to can perform text searches to identify potentially responsive documents. If you can’t, the opposing counsel can challenge the process used to determine what documents were provided to them. This could result in delays, sanctions or potentially losing the case. In this sense, using OCR could help you win a case.
These three technologies have changed how information is handled and are opening up opportunities for dealing with digital data in the legal landscape. Your clients will also benefit. Their inquiries can be addressed quicker. And, you can transform the way your associates and paralegals use their billable hours. Text Analytics, Blockchain and OCR/PDF technology are not only time and money savers, but they are value drivers for legal practices.