As I read the various articles outlining legal tech trends for 2020, one article stood out. It inspired me to explore some of the reasons why Vable has led the way in innovative current awareness provision in the past few years. On 1st Jan 2020, Bob Ambrogi wrote,
Every year, I write a year-end wrap-up of the most significant developments in legal technology. But as we reach the end of a decade, I decided to look back on the most significant developments of the past 10 years. Looking back, it may well have been the most tumultuous decade ever in changing how legal services are delivered.
Bob lists ten* significant legal developments outlining the changes and trends which have shaped the past 10 years. These developments have made automated news monitoring and aggregation platforms like Vable possible; in terms of preparing for the legal industry’s attitude to tech, the changing business of legal practice, and the continuing importance of information skills which are central to creating intelligent systems.
Fundamental technological transformations
The first few developments he outlines are pertinent to Vable; working within A&O's legal tech incubator Fuse enabled us to create a service of direct relevance to legal (and other) clients. But more crucially Vable emerged just as the legal industry was becoming more accepting and trusting of cloud-based applications.
Vable is a SaaS solution, with our infrastructure and platform all running on the cloud. We provide on-demand access through our online portal, allowing you to work on our platform from any location in the world. Parallel to this cloud-centric trend was the rise of smart phones so people could access systems like Vable away from the office.
As Bob points out, ‘the untethering of law practice over the last decade has been a sea change so dramatic and so far reaching that we hardly even notice it anymore. But it has changed law practice forever’.
Most importantly Vable provides clients with options. For instance, Outlook is the industry standard email solution and information people use the rule functionality to manage current awareness emails. However as one client mentioned recently, these rules are cumbersome, and not always fit for purpose. Vable Inbox offers a clean, simple way to manage all email subscriptions, and if you take it in conjunction with InfoPro, you can extract content and feed it into the platform as a source.
The changing landscape of legal practice
It is hard to comprehend just how much the business of law has changed in the course of my 25-year career. However we remain a collection of skilled professionals working together to solve problems, and as Bob says,
‘through [social networks], legal professionals are connected to and engaged with their peers in every corner of the globe. The problems we face as legal and justice professionals are universal, and so are the solutions we build to address them’.
Global law firms need secure global systems to ensure that all offices and personnel are connected. People need seamless, instant access to internal information: financial, HR, operational, and client records. These systems are no longer a luxury, but a necessity, especially given external compliance and regulatory constraints.
Furthermore, it’s not just internal information that needs to be instantly accessible.
News monitoring and aggregation platforms like Vable are central to the dissemination of targeted external information which contributes directly to the success and growth of your business. Vable encourages and enables collaboration across organisations. Your information specialists can identify and include the most valuable industry news sources, then curate current awareness content.
Targeted information for better decision making
No business could operate without clients, and Bob is spot on when he describes ‘the Ascension of the Client’. In a previous post I said, ‘as consumers we all expect more, and our clients are no exception. We live in a client empowered era and they are better informed than ever before’. As suppliers of information solutions, it is our responsibility to ensure that you deliver targeted, relevant, and timely information to clients.
This is where the future meets the present: artificial intelligence. With business intelligence and content aggregation solutions, this usually takes the form of natural language processing (NLP) which is essential to making sense of the vast quantity of incoming data. But no amount of AI can produce perfect search results immediately. In some cases, NLP or automatic concept searching might not bring back exactly the articles you want.
Your information team can assist. Vable’s NLP software extracts and assigns keywords to English language content which simplifies complex searches and eliminates irrelevant results. But Vable’s sophisticated Boolean searching gives you the flexibility to construct precise search strings, which yields far more relevant results than most other methods.
As we look forward to a new decade, I wonder where we will be in 2030. Bob concludes his piece with some ‘honorable mentions’ of future (imminent and ongoing) developments but all we know for sure is that technology will affect us in exciting and unexpected ways. And Vable will be there with you every step of the way.
*For ease of reference, Bob’s ten significant legal developments are
- Surge of the legal tech startup
- Less resistance to cloud computing
- Mobility and untethering with smart devices
- Practice management discipline and technology
- Legal ethics and other regulatory upheaval
- Focus on client service and satisfaction
- Legal industry globalization
- Artificial intelligence (AI) from fear to adoption
- Influx of legal tech investments
- Data-driven legal practice