LAWPAVILION FLASH ESSAY COMPETITION – second prize winner
THIS ESSAY IS THE SECOND PRIZE WINNING ARTICLE IN THE LAWPAVILION FLASH ESSAY COMPETITION TO MARK THE 2019 INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE WEEK.
WRITER: OLUWATOBI AJIBOLA PETERS ESQ.
TOPIC: HOW TECHNOLOGY CAN TRANSFORM LEGAL PRACTICE IN NIGERIA
(USING LAWPAVILION AS A CASE STUDY)
In recent years the world has witnessed a rise in technological advancement. More sectors incorporate technology to ease and drastically transform the way they do business. Through the advent of concepts like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Blockchain, the world is making a paradigm shift towards a truly digital age. Legal practice in Nigeria has not been left out of this wave of technology and in many ways technology can transform legal practice in Nigeria.
An important way through which technology can aid legal practice in Nigeria is through optimising response time to clients, saving lawyers hours of legal research. Through technology, more lawyers will have all they require at their fingertips without recourse to physical books. With the Law Pavilion PRIME for instance, lawyers get access to case law on the go. Law Pavilion 360ᵒ also provides a special compendium of Court of Appeal judgements upturned by the Supreme Court. This remarkably cuts down hours of research on the continuous application of a case. Furthermore, the provision of accurate templates of legal documents online will save a lawyer considerable time expended in drafting legal documents by hand. All the lawyer needs to do is make the template fit for purpose, optimising work-turn-in time to clients. The Law Pavilion AI Suite provides editable templates and precedent forms to lawyers. It also provides current regulations, guidelines and policies and civil procedure rules of all states in Nigeria. This is a turning point in legal research as this resource helps to save the time of contacting lawyers in other states of the rules applicable in such states.
Secondly, technology can improve efficiency and productivity by enabling people work on tasks in virtual workspace. This is made possible by legal technology solutions such as the Law Pavilion Case Manager. It manages briefs, manages tasks, tracks time, generates electronic cause lists and contains other features that enable lawyers effectively manage their cases and clients with increased efficiency. New wigs and lawyers alike have also enjoyed the efficiency technology brings through TIMI, an artificial intelligence by Law Pavilion that acts as a round-the-clock legal assistant. TIMI even features insight notes and compares civil procedure rules across jurisdictions.
In the judicial process, more judges have easy access to case law, increasingly reducing the rate of adjournments prevalent in Nigerian courts. Judges constantly make reference to case law from Law Pavilion in making rulings and cite electronic law reports in judgments. In a matter of minutes, the rulings are prepared and parties go on with the case. This leads to more cases being decided swiftly. This shows how much the Nigerian judicial system can improve with technology.
Beyond the present crop of legal practitioners, technology is also transforming the future of legal practice -the law students- by making legal research for them a speedy and seamless affair. At both university undergraduate level and law school level, students have continued to harness the endless benefits of technology. Students use Law Pavilion 360ᵒ to further advance their studies and legal research. Long essays are concluded in record time through Law Pavilion.
Additionally, technology can improve the globalization of legal services which has become inevitable. Technology aids trade in legal services and reduces obstacles to liberalized legal services providing an even playing field for Nigerian lawyers to compete in the international market. The Billing and Expense Tracking system by Law Pavilion helps with the Nigerian competition in the global market as it tracks billable hours of lawyers and determines hourly rates. Furthermore, the Solicitors and Arbitrators Toolkit (SAT) from Law Pavilion promotes international arbitration under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), further helping lawyers to prove international expertise and compete effectively in the international market while improving free trade across Africa.
Conclusively, technology can provide connectivity and accessibility in the legal profession. It also offers employment opportunities for lawyers and boosts innovation in the legal profession. Law Pavilion for instance, provides employment to several lawyers across four cities in Nigeria. It has further created more diversification in the legal profession through more technology-proficient lawyers. Technology has truly transformed legal practice in Nigeria and is set to do so much more in the future.