As a practicing attorney, I benefit every day from legal software designed to streamline the daily lives of legal professionals.
As the founder of Patent Bots — a suite of legal software tools for patent attorneys — I see how my customers build efficiencies into their practices by automating the tedious yet critical patent preparation and prosecution workflows.
These are the promised benefits of legal tech. Right?
When discussing legal tech as an industry, we often focus on horizontal solutions — research, document management, case management, practice management — that apply to law firms regardless of practice area. I’d like to shine the spotlight on emerging vertical tools that address the needs of lawyers in specific fields like immigration, family law or (my field) intellectual property.
To be clear, I’m not endorsing the following products. I specialize in intellectual property law, not employment or personal injury. These are simply my observations of software developed to address specific fields of law. Let’s dive in!
Practice-Specific Legal Software Solutions
Field of law: Personal injury
Headquarters: Irvine, Calif.
Case management is perhaps the largest legal tech category. It’s so large that platforms are now being developed for practice areas with unique requirements — and enough potential users for the developer to turn a profit. For example, CASEpeer was designed specifically for the unique requirements of personal injury attorneys.
Family Law Software
Field of law: Family
Headquarters: Newton Center, Mass.
Family Law Software helps divorce professionals calculate child support, prepare financial forms for the court, value defined benefit pensions, divide assets, and do financial projections. The aim is to help clients consider alternatives and understand the implications of their decisions.
Field of law: Immigration
There are a number of immigration law solutions on the market, including Docketwise, INSZoom, LawLogix Guardian and Edge. Founded in 2016, FastVisa is newer to the scene and aims to streamline immigration and visa processes through client intake, case management and workflow automation.
Field of law: Employment
Headquarters: Eagan, Minn.
Employment law is especially complex for businesses operating in multiple jurisdictions. Designed for use by both human resources and legal professionals, GovDocs helps employers maintain compliance with regulations around labor law postings, minimum wage and paid leave across the U.S. and Canada.
Field of law: Intellectual property
Headquarters: Somerville, Mass.
Patent Bots is a suite of products that leverage artificial intelligence and big data to streamline patent preparation and prosecution. The flagship product is an AI-enabled drafting and proofreading tool that dramatically reduces patent errors. Patent Bots also analyzes USPTO data to help attorneys design better application strategies.
(As mentioned above, Patent Bots is my company. I’m not only the founder, though. As a practicing patent attorney, I use Patent Bots in my day job, too.)
Field of law: Real estate
Headquarters: New York City
TrackWithEase is a transaction management solution for real estate lawyers. By streamlining and automating common workflows, TrackWithEase reduces the time required to file real estate transactions, making each transaction filing more profitable for the firm.
Field of law: Traffic
Founded in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020, TurnSignl connects drivers to real-time legal guidance from an attorney via their smartphone during traffic stops while their camera records the interaction. TurnSignl aims to protect drivers’ civil rights, de-escalate roadside interactions, and ensure both drivers and law enforcement officers return home safely.
Wealth Docx and Wealth Tracx
Field of law: Estates and trusts
Headquarters: Salt Lake City
Wealth Docx streamlines the creation of estate planning documents through guided questions, scenarios and customization tools. Meanwhile, Wealth Tracx supports the delivery of trust administration services with a variety of tools, including asset tracking, reports, ledgers and task management.
Technology Competence and the Practicing Attorney
Just 10 years ago, the American Bar Association updated its Model Rules of Professional Conduct to include technology competence. Since then, 39 states have adopted the update that advocates for lawyers to develop knowledge around “the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”
For me, technology competence requires understanding the benefits and risks of both broadly applied legal tech solutions and solutions developed for our specific practice area.
After all, as technology continues to proliferate, there truly will be a legal software solution for every field of law.
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