As 2017 comes to an end, I am looking at what we accomplished this year and what is on our “to do a list” for 2018. There is one item I’m very excited about. I’ll be moderating a panel at the ABA-GPSolo/GLSA 2018 Joint Spring Meeting (April 25-28, 2018) in New Orleans. This is the GLSA’s (Group Legal Services Association) annual educational conference.
The panel is covering the topics of legal technology (legaltech) and access to justice. Many may wonder why I’m excited about this. If you are not in the legal or legaltech business, I understand the topic may seem dry. I’ve been working in legaltech for nearly 8 years at Experts.com and one of my hobbies includes vlogging about legal technology. I am deeply passionate about the impact of technology on the practice of law and delivery of legal services. In essence, I get to host a panel on a topic that fascinates me.
There are a lot of exciting advancements taking place in legaltech. You may have heard about topics such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and chatbots. These subjects have been dominating legal news for the last couple of years. The innovations are very cool, at least to an admitted nerd like myself. However, our panel will not be taking a deep dive into these legaltech topics. A friend and colleague, Tom Martin of LawDroid will be at the conference and he’ll be discussing running his practice virtually while vacationing in Europe. I highly recommend chatting with Tom about chatbots and how they can help to run a lean, efficient practice as well as improve access to justice.
Access to Justice:
As much as I’d like to have a more involved discussion about the cutting edge technologies impacting the practice of law, there are less sophisticated, readily accessible technologies that can be employed by lawyers and law firms to improve access to justice. In fact, many of these technologies are already employed by legal practitioners. I’ll be hosting the panel with four actively practicing lawyers, with varying levels of technical aptitude, who are actively improving consumer access to justice.
To learn more about the magnitude of the access to justice problem, I encourage you to visit the US Department of Justice, Office for Access to Justice and this page from the United Nations and the Rule of Law.
Here is a brief breakdown of the items identified by our panel for discussion to improve access to justice within the United States:
- Cost of legal services
- Consumer awareness of pro-bono services
- Time restraints for lawyers
- Technologies used to improve access to justice
As mentioned above, you and your firm already have access to many of the technologies we’ll be discussing. It is just a matter of how the technology is used to improve consumer access to legal services.
Here are a few of the technologies we will cover:
- Open source and cloud-based services
- Mobile technology
- Social media
- Prepaid legal services
If you are a solo-practitioner looking to improve client access to justice, what would you want to learn about in this presentation?
To my friends and colleagues in the legaltech space, what other legacy technologies should be covered?