1) In-Depth Research
Computers have opened up a huge door for attorneys to access specific case-law decisions that may have taken a lifetime to come across the old-fashioned way. Because the laws are becoming more complex, it is necessary to have factually specific cases to persuade judges to rule in your favor.
Trying to find this needle in the haystack requires access to computer law programs, such as Lexis Nexis and Westlaw. These powerful computer tools allow attorneys and their paralegals to run advanced searches for compelling cases that are extremely on-point to the issue in question.
Because the courts rely on precedents and lines of case-law opinions demonstrating the universal soundness of a legal position, an attorney who attempts to litigate without these tools will have great difficulty drafting motions, winning appeals, or even comprehending the legal issue in question.
Being able to scan through hundreds of thousands of state and federal opinions with specific terms and keywords is like having your own personal Google to sort through the voluminous information produced by the courts of the nation.
2) Drafting Documents
Microsoft Word is the top program for attorneys to draft documents. Word provides attorneys with powerful and easy-to-use tools and templates. They can rehash case-law that was previously researched to expound the contours of a legal defense and create new material in a moment's notice. And because they can save all this material on a computer hard drive, they can maintain an eternal record of each case and refresh themselves with the filings at any time to work on an appeal or new issue.
Before computer programs were available, attorneys were reliant on typewriters, word processors, and hand-written documents to submit anything to the court. These documents took extensive effort to proofread, type, and reproduce on paper.
Electronic filing has changed how documents are received from the courts and filed. Attorneys no longer have to hunt through filing cabinets and briefcases to find relevant case materials. They can simply organize all the filings in a case by using computer folders named after the client. They can break down the filings even further by separating the filings into different stages of the litigation, such as pre-trial motions, discovery, objections, and appeals.
In addition, electronic filing virtually eliminates the risks of documents being lost in the mail or delayed. And, furthermore, attorneys can now procrastinate and still meet strict deadlines.
4) Mobile Technology
In fact, an attorney can now do research and jot down notes concerning a case, no matter where he may be. Mobile technology allows attorneys to brainstorm and figure out winning strategies while they are waiting for a restaurant to prepare them for dinner.
Because 95% of legal work is cognitive, it is easy for attorneys to figure out a case and record key points on a smartphone. They can even use audio recordings that can then be transcribed into text for memorializing the ideas.
5) Social Media
Attorneys can now comb through social media to find evidence to use against another party. Most parties don't realize that this information is so easy to access. They may not understand their privacy settings or how the information can be used in court to weaken their cases.
6) Cloud Technology
Attorneys can research case-law and sift through filings that are available on their Microsoft One Drive cloud or use other cloud servers to share documents in seconds with their colleagues. Cloud technology allows an entire law firm to work together even when they are traveling the globe.
7) Instant Access to News
Attorneys can keep informed of the political trends that can shape litigation. Understanding the political climate and how people may perceive various defenses or claims can help attorneys to forge a winning defense.