The world is moving at a break neck pace, and a crucial element at the root of these changes are technological developments. As the global business landscape has been irrevocably altered by these developments, it was only a matter of time before each comprising industry would have had to adapt and – to a certain degree – reinvent itself as a consequence. Even though, admittedly, a little notorious for their traditionalist approach and the old-fashioned nature of their work, legal professionals had no choice but to join in on utilising technology, along the way discovering a plenitude of otherwise impossible benefits that are now available to them.
It was no secret during last year (as evidenced by a number of surveys and interviews with industry professionals) that the biggest focus for most of the law firms across the world rested on either improving and expanding on their existing websites, or completely revamping them in order to meet the evolving needs of both clients and business partners. Karanović & Nikolić was one of the practices that recognised these needs by launching a new fully responsive website, designed to meet the latest global trends in terms of being optimised for smartphones and tablets (taking into consideration that they account for 60% of total online traffic nowadays), while at the same time offer enough space and options for the kind of content placed. Speaking of content placement on websites, it has to present one of the most significant advantages gained through employing technology as it gives law firms a chance to use their expertise to discuss topics from particular practice areas, as well as provide the most relevant news updates that are currently in the spotlight and that prospective clients might be interested in hearing about. In addition, law firms are able to promote their employees since they are the authors of these texts, and in doing so help establish their own expert authority, thus giving the website a genuinely important marketing role within the framework of a legal practice.
Concurrently, it is hard to emphasise the importance of having a modern and responsive website, without proclaiming the significance of having proper representation on social networks as well. Apart from offering additional valuable options for disseminating the aforementioned content, social networks also give law firms an opportunity for a more personal and interactive presence through communicating their in-house events and activities. Likewise, by having a chance to present themselves in a more personal manner and thus offer something of a "sneak-peek" into the inner workings of the firm, there is also significant HR potential to be found. Younger generations, many of whom are students and an incoming wave of legal professionals, are likely to turn to such a less formal source when asking questions and obtaining information. Besides, if we were to speak in more general terms, the "digital shadow" or the digital presence of a law firm is already significantly bigger than a physical presence. Nowadays we can even go insofar as to say that ignoring the existence of a digital presence is equally or more dangerous than ignoring reality itself. The recent hacking case of a single law firm – Mossack Fonseca in Panama – shows how big and significant of an impact a law firm's digital presence may have on global political and business security.
On the other hand, this was made possible by the internal benefits that law firms can also reap from technology, namely, the possibility to digitise documents and utilise online libraries or different kinds of cloud services when accessing information, instead of relying on the old ways of endlessly stacking books on top of statutes on top of case files and taking up immense space along the way. Moreover, digital databases are also significantly easier to search through and arrange, and as such, have become a necessity for any contemporary law firm. Needless to say, high levels of cutting edge security have to be in place first for any such technological feature.
Finally, it is somewhat inherent to the topic of technology that a certain level of potential controversy accompanies it, from exposure to hacking attacks and overall data protection issues, to some of the more recent speculations revolving around the development of Artificial Intelligence systems capable of making connections and interpretations from information in order to make independent decisions and predictions, thus becoming so-called lawyer substitutes. However, it is important to make a distinction between what the future (and technology) might bring, and what the present day offers us. In this sense, the abundance of benefits attained from utilising technology in the legal industry is quite evident, and it only goes to show the complacency of those law firms that to do not recognise and capitalise on them.