One of the most important parts of preparing a law case is research. For years, legal teams had to spend hours in a library, pouring through piles of books containing established case law to find information relevant to an upcoming trial. This required extra time be spent on research instead of discovery or defense.
Thankfully, the process has been much simpler in recent years thanks to technological advances. Instead of spending hours at the law library, research can be conducted quickly and conveniently on the Internet. Let’s look at four ways that technology can help you research your next law case.
1- Online Legal Databases
There are many online databases like LexisNexis that have made searching for previous cases or legal statutes easier than ever. A quick search can get the answers you need in minutes instead of the hours that the previous law library system would have taken. If you can’t remember the exact wording of a court ruling from the early 1900s, a database can get the decision in its entirety in no time at all.
2- AI Chatbots
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an emerging technology that can be used to help craft arguments and also look up case law or legal statutes. Chatbots like ChatGPT, Bing AI, and others can point out holes in logic or help you explain to the judge why an obscure US Supreme Court ruling or opinion from 1873 pertains to the case at hand. You may want to double-check any facts you receive from AI, however, as the technology has not been perfected and it is still prone to the occasional error.
3- Online Collaboration Tools
Online collaboration tools like Google Documents are especially useful if an entire research team is working on a single case. These programs allow different users to edit the same document, which allows each team member to share their findings with one another and ensure that no two people are spending time looking at the same document. Seamless communication will help the research process to become faster and more efficient.
4- Use Time Management Software
Every researcher can tell you that the hardest part of the job is managing time and not spending too long on one specific portion of the research. Thankfully, time management software can help law firms and their legal teams spend the right amount of time on each section. The reports also allow the lawyer overseeing the research team to see how the team members are spending their time and whether or not any improvements can be made. If multiple cases are being researched, they can also help when deciding how many research hours should be billed and to which client.
These are just four of the many ways that technology can be used to help legal teams research law cases. Using online databases, collaboration tools, management software, and AI can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend looking up legal precedents and relevant statutes, giving you more time to focus on other aspects of your client’s upcoming case.