No other technology may better represent the changes we've all been through in the past year than Zoom. Law firm offices and law school classrooms emptied like nobody's business a year ago in March. The whole world was literally in lockdown. Remote meeting and video conferencing tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet are just some of the brand names that held us together in these times a great social distancing. So much so Zoom fatigue became a real thing, and so too Zoombombing.
In such a year, technological innovation and change went on nonstop. All signs point to a just as rapidly moving 2021. An example of this might be illustrated by BMC Blogs Top 20 IT/Tech Conferences of 2021. BMC is in the business of helping businesses become Autonomous Digital Enterprises. While law firms are likely not to go that far, today's article highlights some of the many companies and products that are available to assist you in upgrading your legal practice now.
One forum you may already be familar with is the annual ABA Techshow (PDF). The recently concluded 2021 show covered a wide range of topics and products: collaboraton, diversity, ethics, cybersecurity, disruptive innovation, marketing, litigation, automation, and well-being. On the leading edge of this conference is ABA's Startup Alley competition which begins with a call for entries to select a first round of 25 legal technology startups. The second round narrows the field down to 15 finalists, and for the grand finale the Top 5 winners are selected.
In similar fashion, 2020 started off big with the launch of Reynan Court. Some have called it the app store of law. In the fourth quater of 2020, three more websites launched marketplace directory services for legal technology products: Legaltech Hub, The Observatory, and Thomson Reuters Marketplace. They each have their taglines such as Legaltech Hub's "democratizing legal technology."
The last product on our list has as its objective helping ordinary people. Upsolve is a free, self-service software tool that helps people file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Co-founder Rohan Pavuluri was studying at Harvard and putting together self-help legal information packets when he learned it cost on average $1500 for a person to hire a bankruptcy lawyer. This made him really angry. When someone needs to file bankruptcy they don't have $1500 to spare he reasoned and began work on his startup. To date, Upsolve has reached over two million low-income households in the U.S. and relieved more than $300 million in debt for those who have used it. Time magazine named it one of the best inventions of 2020.
Submitted by Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian on May 12, 2021
This article appears in the categories: Law Library