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Technology and Law: How the Future Looks for Those in Practice

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The business of advocacy and lawyering has been around for centuries. Ever since the dawn of man, some justice system has been in place for dictatorships and democracies alike. The older the civilization is, the more chances it has of getting a form of the justice system. Credit goes to the Sumerian civilization on the oldest code of law. The Code of Ur-Nammu is dated around 2100 to 2050 BCE — more than 4,000 years ago. It is the oldest known and oldest surviving type of legal system that was in place.

The first people who were first to be described as advocates or lawyers were the orators of the Greek civilization. Lawyers served as counselors, advisors, and agents during the Greco-Roman period. The written law was key in all the legal developments during these periods. Thanks to the technology at that time, everyone was made aware of the current laws of said nations. As long as it is written, one cannot feign ignorance of the law.

As technology advanced through the centuries, ways to display and make known the law are invented and promulgated. The law’s main objective is peace and order for all. There are times through the centuries where the law leaned towards a certain group of people. However, it became apparent that the end goal is justice. For people to believe in governance, laws have to be fair and known. Developments in law through the industrial revolution involved the publication of the laws before implementation. Through such implements, no one can claim ignorance of the law as an excuse.

How are technology and law intertwined? What will the future be like for lawyers?

Communication

As our methods of communication become more advanced year in and year out, so will the lawyers’ jobs be more complicated than in previous years. The internet is slowly becoming integrated into modern and applicable laws. The internet is unknown territory for the aging legal minds in governments’ legislative bodies. Whether the communication is done via the internet can be admitted as evidence is now residing for decision in the upper courts.

The question remains whether what we post on social media sites can be used against us firmly as evidence of character. Are what we communicate through public websites privileged and protected by free speech clauses? As more communication devices pop up each year, more and more questions crowd our legal system. In the prevalence of work from home arrangements due to the pandemic, are what we communicate through video calls privileged? Is consent implied when we speak through the Zoom call?

client

Contracts

Now that contracts can be signed through the device of E-signatures, more and more business can be done instantaneously. The pandemic has forced the hands of multiple corporations to move to a setup that is basically and primarily working at home. Working from home is only convenient when you have nothing physical to do in the office. However, since physical distancing is still highly recommended, personal appearance to do traditional physical activities is discouraged. E-signing has made it easier for business transactions to transpire.

However, it has given the average business lawyer a gray area to operate in. Depending on the parties, some might find e-signatures to not be acceptable for contracts in business. Some jurisdictions treat hard copies and soft copies of contracts differently. Depending on the jurisdiction’s acceptance of the version of the contract, similar to how contracts were made verbally or through the written word, we are still a long way to go when it comes to digital contracts.

Promulgation

Because reaching people has been easier with modern technology, laws, both legislated and case, are easily published and promulgated online. Modern technology allows farther reach in quicker time. In some jurisdictions, the digital publication is considered sufficient to be a notification or publication to their governed masses. The more accessible the legal systems become, the easier it gets for laws to be applied to the governed.

Storage and Research

Thanks to modern technology and the uploading of thousands and thousands of cases and laws, most lawyers have easy access to researching precedent for their upcoming cases. Compared to lawyers’ work decades past, even those not well-versed in legalese can research on their own regarding their legal questions. Because the base of legislated laws and case laws has become so voluminous, lawyers would inevitably have to resort to modern technology to do their basic research and writing.

Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Because of the almost infinitesimal number of people inside a jurisdiction, lawyers need technology now more than ever. As the need for further development of legal-related became imperative, many legal minds were forced to take refuge in modern technology. As technology advances, the relationship will only grow more fruit.

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