Guest post by Andrea Kilby, business development director at Legal Futures Associate Thomson Reuters
The coronavirus pandemic has plunged many litigators head-first into a new world of digital case management, and virtual and hybrid hearings.
Research from Thomson Reuters conducted in the first half of 2021 shows that 92% of litigation lawyers surveyed believe that Covid-19 has changed the way they practice, with many welcoming the time savings that an increase in technology use has brought.
One of the main challenges faced by law firms and courts alike during Covid-19 was dealing with large amounts of paper, with 63% citing difficulties with court bundles being a common issue.
The level of organisation and accuracy required for hearings with hundreds of thousands of pages worth of evidence is extraordinary. Relying on PDF tools can lead to delays in ensuring that everyone is viewing the same version of the document and is on the right page.
Digital hearing preparation and presentation software ensures all relevant parties can easily create and access e-bundles and seamlessly add or redact items at the click of a button. New forms of evidence like video files, MP4 recordings, texts and emails can now be easily added to digital bundles and accessed live in the hearing without causing delays.
When asked about the areas that benefitted most from improvements to processes or use of technology, it’s no surprise that 71% of litigation lawyers said ‘managing proceedings’, and 55% said ‘preparing for and managing the trial process’.
Cost savings can be found not only as a result of removing paper, but also from the productivity gains of using the new digital platform.
While law firms are preparing cases to be heard, the matter of cost is always at the forefront of their minds. Thankfully, using a cloud-based platform is straightforward and cost-effective for everyone involved and is accessible to all parties anywhere, anytime through a simple Internet browser.
Delivering professional, efficient and effective results to clients is the main objective for law firms. In order to achieve this, moving to digital case preparation and presentation is now a necessity.
The law firms we surveyed highlighted three areas where they expect their technology investment to deliver the greatest impact.
Firstly, improved workflow, with all documents accessible and searchable on a central system.
Secondly, increased job satisfaction as a result of removing and automating repetitive tasks and streamlining communication with all parties.
Thirdly, and most importantly, improved client satisfaction in the form of increased efficiency, transparency and visibility every step of the way.