By Enzo BacciardiDomestic and International Agreements and Digital Law Area

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By “legal tech” we mean all those technologies that can speed up and make more productive the activity of jurists, judges, lawyers and legal departments of companies, banks and insurance companies. It constitutes an evolution of legal information technology, which started a few decades ago with databases of regulatory and jurisprudential precedents.

In advertising, a distinction is made between legal tech, which identifies the tools mentioned above, and “digital law”, which identifies the legal services required in the application of technology. Other definitions such as “innovation and technology lab law” and “digital law network” are also used.

The benefits of using legal tech are many, since the same allows to:

  1. reduce the time and cost of routine activities of legal practitioners: there are software that allow you to quickly collect, catalog and verify documents;
  2. offer services to users: there are softwares that create privacy policies for websites and/or allow to create tailor-made contracts drawing from a clause book with hundreds of contract types;
  3. negotiate, certify and automate contracts: like smart contracts inserted in a blockchain, which certifies the agreement concluded on the network and automates the effects deriving from contractual rights and obligations;
  4. provide automated messages (chabot) in response to user queries;
  5. offer marketplaces (platforms) of legal services, where a competitive selection is carried out between professionals/service providers based on prices and certified skills;
  6. offer platforms dedicated to online dispute resolution;
  7. Predict the costs, duration and possible outcome of a case through specific software.

The legal tech is a support to, and not a replacement for, legal practitioners, as it allows them to avoid mechanical and repetitive activities, to devote themselves to the more creative aspects of the profession, such as the direct relationship with clients, the search for innovative strategies and solutions etc..

In Italy, the diffusion of legal tech and legal digitization are still far behind, as they clash with the reduced knowledge of technological tools by many professionals and with the resistance of professional orders. But it is increasingly necessary to conceive the lawyer as an entrepreneur who sells a service that, now more than ever, must be timely and easily accessible by the clients.