A recent Florida Supreme Court decision could lead to a technological revolution in the legal industry. The court approved changes to the state’s current CLE requirements. The law will require lawyers admitted to the Florida Bar to take a minimum of three hours of technology-related CLE courses during a three-year-cycle. Furthermore, the decision will allow CLE’s in technology classes to be given by advisers with “established technological competence in the relevant field;” meaning CLE’s no longer need to be given by other attorneys. While the Florida rule is not currently in place in most states, it could eventually lead to a larger embrace of technology by the legal community.
The significance of Florida’s change in CLE requirements could have a major impact on the broader legal community across the country. Law firms largely understand that embracing technology saves time and increases efficiency. In fact, 93% of law firm leaders think a focus on improved practice efficiency is a permanent trend in the legal market, according to an Altman Weil study. That said, only 44% of law firms have significantly changed their approach to efficiency, according to the same study. The Altman Weil study also claims that the primary reason firms have not changed their approach is that clients are not asking them to change. While that logic makes sense, it’s not hard to see how that could change dramatically with the new CLE requirements. As attorneys are forced to become more acquainted with technology, it’s reasonable to hypothesize that they’ll be more likely to integrate technology into their firms. The integration of new technology in Florida could have a bleed over effect into the rest of the country should clients come to demand a more streamlined process from their representation.
One example of how the use of technology in law firms could bleed over into other states is through the document signing process. For instance, a large national firm based in Florida could realize through these legal CLE’s that they can streamline the document signing system by integrating InfoTrack through their case management system (CMS). Instead of using the normal fax process for document signing, this firm begins using InfoTrack’s SignIT feature to expedite the process for getting signatures from all parties. Should national firms start taking a more efficiency-based approach toward clients en masse, the result could be that clients nationwide begin to expect their representation to be more efficient and tech-savvy; forcing firms across the country to adapt newer technologies.
A more willing embrace of technology would be a good thing for everyone in the legal market. Tech companies could dramatically alter the legal landscape for the better if attorneys around the country had a better grasp of technology. For instance, InfoTrack provides more services beyond just SignIT. They‘re a constantly evolving legal ecosystem that possesses services such as instant court searching, Secretary of State searches in all 50 states, the ability to incorporate your company online,tax filing, and data visualization of numerous companies in the United States.