‘Lawyers are finding new ways to deliver their services,’ NSW Law Society president says

The organisation’s recent roadshow focused on the impact of tech on legal service delivery post-COVID-19

‘Lawyers are finding new ways to deliver their services,’ NSW Law Society president says

“Lawyers are finding new ways to deliver their services while staying true to their time-honoured commitments – to court and client; to the rule of law; and to the checks and balances inherent in modern, democratic society,” NSW Law Society President Juliana Warner said at the organisation’s recent roadshow, which focused on the law in a post-COVID-19 world.

The 2021 Future of Law and Innovation in the Legal Profession (FLIP) Regional Roadshow, which took place in Parramatta on 23 April, examined the legal innovations spurred by COVID-19. In her keynote address, Legal Service Delivery in a Digital World, Warner highlighted trends like the growing prevalence of online courts and online dispute resolution, the adoption of flexible working arrangements and the potential for technology to increase access to justice.

“In 2020, the legal profession in NSW delivered a masterclass in change leadership, responding to the crisis of COVID-19 with agility, innovation, and resolve,” she said. “The effect of the global pandemic has been to accelerate many of the trends that were already underway in the legal profession.”

Warner outlined the four key areas of legal innovation observed since the onset of the pandemic: pricing, technology, collaboration and communication. She pointed to the rise of subscription-based firms such as LegalVision and Sprintlaw, which break down the financial barriers that prevent as many as 49% of Australians from accessing legal services.

She also cited the explosive impact of technology on legal processes such as document automation, e-Discovery and case management, and said that there was “considerable optimism that legal technologies can help increase access to justice.”

“In February, the NSW government opened the second round of applications for a $250,000 innovation grant for technology solutions that reduce barriers to the justice system,” Warner said. “Governments have been inspired by programs like the recent partnership between Sydney-based start-up FamilyProperty and Legal Aid NSW.”

She pointed to the launch of the LawTech Hub by Lander & Rogers and YBF Ventures, which brought lawyers and entrepreneurs together in the process of designing and building legaltech.

New digital tools, Warner said, have also “transformed the way lawyers communicate with their clients, their colleagues and the wider community.” She credited the profession’s relatively seamless transition to working from home at the outset of COVID-19 to the widespread adoption of digital tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

The Parramatta FLIP Roadshow also explored topics like cyber and claims risks and practical innovations to bolster legal practice and the profession.

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