Technology is propelling the growth of many sectors, including innovations in the legal industry. Processes in the legal sector have gone increasingly online and the pandemic has magnified the need for improvements.
As innovations in the legal tech industry continue, one wonders what could be next?
We spoke with Ben Giaretta, a leading counsel and arbitrator in international commercial arbitration, about what he thinks would be the 5 innovations in legal tech in the next 5 years.
Video Conferencing Will Be Ubiquitous
In 2020, we saw the rise of video conferencing used in legal proceedings. Ben recalled how four to five years ago, people would have to go to a special room in an office to do a video conference. Now, everyone can do it with their laptop or smartphone.
Given this, Ben says that video conferencing will continue as a means to conduct hearings. It will become ubiquitous and, even after the pandemic has ended, it might be surprising to have an arbitration without video conferencing.
Virtual Reality for Virtual Hearings
Picking up from video conferencing, Ben suggests that advances in virtual reality technology might push the boundaries of virtual hearings. It is possible that future hearings may be done in an immersive 3D environment.
Should this come to pass, VR-powered hearings would greatly help in providing a “more complete” nuanced communication. This could solve one of the weaknesses of hearings done through video conferencing today.
“It might seem a bit of a leap now, but the same could have been said 10 years ago about video conferencing being available on every computer and becoming the main form of communication,” Ben declares. What might appear unlikely now could very soon become part of our lives.
More Efficient Systems
With systems getting better by the minute, Ben predicts how artificial intelligence or AI may improve project management in arbitration. AI could make the arbitration process faster and more efficient by systematically organizing the cases; maybe allowing it to be completed in a matter of weeks instead of months or years.
However, he says that AI would only augment, not replace, human intelligence since effective arbitration of disputes between people still needs human input.
Systems would also have to work intuitively in order to provide a good experience to the end-user. “An ideal platform would be one which is adaptable for every case, and allows people to plug in data on different issues and pleadings that are then processed not along standard lines but instead in a case-specific manner, giving the best and most efficient outcome,” Ben explains.
Higher Tech Adoption
Ben says that there is still resistance to adopting digital arbitration. “Some people complain about not having the physical objects, such as paper hearing bundles. And virtual hearings are not perfect. Sometimes, people do need to see each other in person to get a sense of reality.”
However, with video conferencing gaining traction today in every part of our lives, he is hoping that more people in the legal industry will embrace technology.
Truly International Arbitration
“International arbitration is a bit of a misnomer because in many ways it’s a collection of national systems and approaches.” Ben opens when we asked him what he meant when he said that the future may have “true” international arbitration.
In many countries, international arbitration tends to follow national rules and customs. To truly achieve international arbitration, Ben thinks that arbitration should move online. In fact, this would be intuitive since many businesses now operate in a digital environment.
Ben also mentions how the establishment of online standards in international arbitration would help to make this a reality. Fortunately, steps towards the fulfillment of this are underway with Jur working with leading legal experts to define the Online Justice Standard.
These 5 things may or may not happen. For now, we can only hope that the innovations in the legal industry bring positive change in order for more people to enjoy better access to justice in an increasingly globalized market.