Colombia has shown significant progress in terms of digital transformation in the productive sectors, and an example of this is LegalTech or law firms, a new multidisciplinary field of work that seeks to integrate the application of technology to exercise of the legal profession, through the use of tools that facilitate or make more efficient the work of lawyers for the benefit of their clients.
Efficiency, speed and economy are some of the characteristics of this process, in addition to the fact that people, without having to leave their homes or offices, entrust a procedure or process to a group of lawyers through the virtual platform.
However, for David F. Varela and Daniel A. Garavito, LegalTech professors, Faculty of Legal Sciences, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, “LegalTech is not limited to the application of useful technology for lawyers, but also incorporates the concept of innovation in the legal area, facilitating the exercise of the daily tasks of lawyers through simpler and more friendly processes. For this reason, one of its most attractive fields is that of LegalDesign tools that seek to apply design principles to legal services and methodologies, to bring end users closer to the typical products of legal work such as contracts or administrative decisions or court,” he says.
According to the Legal Hackers initiative (a global movement made up of lawyers, technophiles and academics from all areas), there are more than 100 different LegalTech ventures in Colombia; this, without counting those from the public sector and the academy that materialize in technology-based companies.
These initiatives range from legal updating services, consultation of judicial files, notifications about procedural actions; legal studies specialized in emerging technologies, distribution of judicial processes through artificial intelligence and creation of jurisprudential lines based on ‘big data’ and ‘block chain’, just to mention a few.
In Colombia, as in the rest of the world, LegalTech is a field under construction with infinite possibilities and with many actors that have been joining for its implementation in various fields. “An example of this is the existence of the Colombian Association of LegalTech (alt+co), a non-profit organization aimed at promoting the ecosystem that emerged from the interaction between information and communication technologies (ICT) and the legal sector, but also the existence of initiatives
such as ‘LegalAPP’ of the Ministry of Justice and ‘Pretoria’ of the Constitutional Court, which clearly show an intention to use technology for the improvement of legal and legal services”, comments Carlos Eduardo Saraza Gómez, dean of the Faculty of Law from the Areandina University of Pereira.
Given the great proliferation of this type of service, access to LegalTech as a tool for social use is becoming more democratized every day and it could be thought that it is within everyone’s reach. “However, it is also true that the operating costs of these technologies can be high for people and companies that do not have infrastructure, sufficient economic and financial resources and, in worse cases, generate an increase in digital gaps between users of the legal system seen as a unit”, adds dean of the Faculty of Law of the Areandina University of Pereira.
What procedures can be carried out?
The LegalTech is not in itself a platform. As has been seen, it is rather a comprehensive ecosystem that combines different platforms, technologies, methodologies and services to contribute to a better functioning of the activities related to the legal, legal or Law fields.
Having this clear, the number of issues that can be managed with the use or implementation of LegalTech seems virtually inexhaustible. To cite some practical examples, in Colombia the following processes can be carried out:
– The management of digital contracts, “intelligent” contracts and ‘online’ contracts.
– Review of procedural procedures in the various jurisdictional bodies of the country, from municipal courts to high courts.
– Realization of notarial and registration procedures, ‘online’.
– Use of ICT for forensic reconstruction, obtaining evidence and evidentiary analysis.
– Carrying out hearings and proceedings mediated by technology.
– Procedure for selecting processes for judicial instances such as the Constitutional Court.
– Specialized software for monitoring court cases, scheduling hearings and legal control.
– Legal updating and access to specialized literature.
– Take undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Law both in the country and abroad.
– Analysis of jurisprudential precedent and elaboration of jurisprudential lines through the use of ‘big data’ and analytics.
These are just some of the solutions already implemented in the Colombian legal context and there are many more that are in the development phase and that will surely result in better benefits for people who have contact with legal services in general.
Like any other service, it depends on the agreement between the lawyer and his client.
In recent years, the offer of digital legal services includes everything from contracting traditional online legal advice services to selecting digital ‘packages’ that integrate different services, so there is no standardization of prices. “In addition to the fact that the final cost depends on the number of solutions that you want to contract, and the type of services that are needed for each case, in general there is strong competition in which providers seek to differentiate themselves through the quality and characteristics of their products. services”, add the Javeriana teachers. Thus, this model should be understood as the way in which lawyers provide their services hand in hand with technology.
It is practically like having a legal professional open for you 24 hours a day, 365 days.