Have you ever wondered how law firms manage their piling administrative work? While individual skills are vital, it is ultimately legal technology that offers you the answer. 

What is Legal Technology?

Legal technology (colloquially jargonised as ‘legal tech’ by professionals) is an umbrella term for all the pieces of technology and software used to facilitate and support one’s legal work. As you will notice, legal technology extends far beyond the ordinary emailing system and, overall, shortens the time for completing tasks, enabling lawyers to dedicate more time to their clients. Furthermore, legal technology has been commended for lowering paper usage and also attenuating carbon footprint.         

Early evidences of legal technology originate from the 1950s when lawyers embraced dictation machines to record information. Searching for information was revolutionised in 1973 when Lexis introduced the online case search terminal ‘UBIQ’, whereas, the next two decades witnessed the emergence of the predecessors of the modern case management systems.

Legal Technology in Practice


Even if legal technology still sounds somewhat obscure to you, it will become more perceptible if illustrated with several examples.

A number of high-profile law firms have invested in nurturing their own legal technology-orientated platforms for clients and employees, plus service streamlines. Mishcon de Reya is a prime example with its PropTech team and MDR LAB, which have generated Orbital Witness (a ‘satellite imagery product for real estate lawyers’) and Thirdfort (‘a platform to onboard clients remotely’). The ‘Freshfields Lab’ is Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s space for building the bridge between clients and the technology implemented in their transactions. Similarly, ‘Law-Now’ is the holder of knowledge-boosting materials CMS supplies its clients with. Additionally, CMS promotes its very own Apps on Dawn Raid and Insurance. Middle-sized firms, such as Muckle LLP and its ‘Muckle App’, have also taken service provision the same direction.

Whole systems form part of legal technology too, such as Capterra, a case management system. Slaughter and May relies on the widespread smart contracts to document, control and execute contracts sideways with Luminance, an automated document review system. On the other hand, DWF and CMS respectively operate their Draft and Evidence collection apparatuses.

Next Steps?


The likelihood (if not the certainty) is that alongside the advancement of business innovations and the expansion of business needs, law firms will inevitably be influenced to adopt and develop more agile legal technology to accelerate their work process. Therefore, Law and non-Law students, if provided the chance to step through the doors of a law firm via a work placement, a vacation scheme or simply an Open Day, make sure to proactively inquire about what legal technology operates at the heart of a legal business. Any practical exposure you gain will be an asset to your future applications!