August 12, 2016

There has been a tremendous surge of tech integration into the law industry. A lot of upcoming innovations have been trying to apply layers of business models on top of legal practice. Their main aim has been to make legal services almost as similar as hailing a cab whenever you wish to hop to town and back. This has been vaguely dubbed ‘uberizing’ legal practice.

So what does the vision of ‘uberizing’ legal practice really looks like. Many start-ups in the legal industry have wanted to make the tradition of hourly billing a thing of the past. They want a system where you only pay for the particular service instead. The uber lawyer will be the ‘next available attendant’ to the client as opposed to the life-long lawyer who many might be acquainted to. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and complex algorithms are supposed to break down case research to manageable bits that even someone without a law background can understand.

But just how effective is this ‘revolution’ in spurring growth in the legal sector? We list seven reasons why this method of approach is not healthy for the industry.

1. The solicitor-client relationship

At the heart of lawyering nests strong empathy shown by the lawyer to his client. This empathy is what, in more occasions, will act as the background energy in moving the litigation. It is not a commercial requirement, but only relies on the emotional motive the solicitor has. As with the entire scope of the litigation, through pleadings, hearings, standing with the family in the court room, the lawyer gets to become part of the case and not just a container to carry events. The question that really remains is: Would you entrust your life’s unfolding to the preference of a machine program?

2. Conduct

"I swear, as a lawyer, to perform my duties with dignity, conscience, independence, integrity and humanity." This is the creed that all practitioners agree to submit to. We mustn’t forget that the foundation of the commitment of a lawyer lies in his oath. The moment a family or company identifies a lawyer for their litigation, it becomes not just a job but a responsibility. Components like professional secrecy, confidentiality, financial transparency, relationships with the defense counsel among others, are what gives the ethical dimension to the legal transaction. It therefore does not make sense to allocate programs these tasks because they cannot build confidence in the litigants, as compared to using actual lawyers.

3. Accrued expertise

Legal expertise and the methodology acquired over years of practice remains the single most important asset the practitioner can have in helping his client effectively. Experience is grown and cannot be swiftly replaced because of the dynamics of the experience itself. Entrusting a machine with a program is not enough to be able to process information to levels that a seasoned practitioner can.

4. The art of negotiation

This is a funny one because it’s entirely a ‘human thing’, if we may put it. A computer software majorly relies on a set of specific commands to guide it and will not be able to know how to ‘meet the client half way’. The unpredictable nature of the law industry is what has been the dividing line between hay and chaff. Good lawyers will comply to set laws, but great ones will bend them to sway support to their side. Whether a plea bargain, a business negotiation or a difficult case sharing custody of minor children, the lawyer will always be the representative to which he will address. Never a robot.

Uberization of Lawyers

5. Teamwork

A lawyer who was facing complexities in the business knows that it is important to allocate tasks by specialty so as to be effective. Not only will this increase overall productivity, it boosts morale and satisfaction of the team in applying their strengths. Law firms will constitute the entire human resource ranging from accountants to HR managers and of course the lawyers among other necessary departments. To have the computerized mechanisms to coordinate all these roles at the same time would require huge monetary investment. Again, this does not appeal to the solo practitioners who are watchful of their spending.

6. Mastering the legal monitoring

With a growing stream of case law and doctrine manuals and notes as the firm grows, the important thing is not just in gathering the data, but in prioritizing, classifying and ordering it so that you can generate useful information. This means that the lawyer must have the wisdom to skim through the various files and organize them in a way that’s easy to access and use. This is not easily done by computer programs, or at least to the desired degree. As a legal geologist, a lawyer must be comfortable in handling several legal strata.

7. The sense of commitment

Many lawyers are sworn in as young students and absorbed into law firms. Over time, these students are able to acquire the practice ethics and necessary relationships to climb the responsibility ladder. Eventually they become trusted to clients because they have a history. Great personalities such as Phil Beck, David Bernick, David Boies, Evan Chesler have grown to become some of the most trusted litigators because of their loyalty and professional finesse. With a machine, there is no sense of commitment whatsoever.


The ‘uberization’ of lawyers simply is not a viable venture because unlike finance, it is not a quantitavite science which can be easily emulated and steered by computer models and algorithms. Law is a practice with strong social aspects which make it difficult to computerize.

What Juritool provides is a common ground between software, litigator and client. By using analytics, this resource is able to provide the lawyer with underlying trends and patterns in his research. Juritool utilizes a combination of powerful analytics capabilities as well as smart filters in organizing your database for the convenience of the lawyer. Please check here for an outline of features and start your free two weeks trial today.