Stephanie Medina


Back to the Future

A History of Legal Technology

Posted by Stephanie Medina on

Although we don’t usually link the words “legal” and “technology” very often, some major technological developments ever since the introduction of mechanical movable type printing in the 15th century by Johannes Gutenberg have influenced legal practice.

Basically, any kind of technology that has affected the way we are able to process or consume information has also given us the chance to make laws more easily available to the public and to changed the way legal research is done.

However, in the last few years, we have witnessed the development of new technologies that might spark even deeper changes in the way law is practised.

So, what we want to achieve here is make a brief count of many inventions that have changed legal practice.

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But first, we want to make sure you know exactly what are we talking about.

Legal Technology

The modern definition of Legal Technology refers to using software and technology to help law firms with everyday activities like research, billing, documents storage, etc. More recently, it has been associated with the development of digital tools that give people the chance to reduce or eliminate the need to consult or hire a lawyer for some simple tasks.

Legal practice is seen as a traditional, risk-avert industry that usually has little to no incentives to cut its costs.

But in the last few years, legal practice for and within big companies has been forced to handle hundreds to thousands of patents and legal obligations, raising the level of competition among law firms to new highs.

This is what is pushing also legal technology to new grounds.

A Brief History of Legal Technology

1940’s
● A new field of scientific studies called “Jurimetrics” is developed, with the purpose of applying quantitive methods to legal practice.

1960’s
● Work on the first computers network (and internet predecessors) begin.
● The first commercial version of the modern fax is out.

1970’s
● Networked computer messaging evolves into an email.
● Microcomputers and word processing become a reality.

1980’s
● The rise of personal computers and the development of graphic interfaces and software make possible for legal teams to write and view documents for specific clients.
● Local Area Networks give institutions the chance to communicate and share information and documents.

1990’s
● .The internet explosion and the wide use of email (with attached files) make it even easier to share documents but also brought new challenges to the traditional way of doing research.
● Scanners arrive. This is a huge technological advance in terms of storage of documents and research for law firms.

2000’s
● Smart devices become popular and change not only the way lawyers do their work but also the way investigations are done (digital data can be used as evidence in many cases).
● Blockchain technology (Bitcoin) is born.

2010’s
● Automated document review becomes widely used.
● Smart contracts technology is implemented on top of blockchains.
● The first artificial intelligent lawyer.

What the future holds…

On Artificial Intelligence and the future of law:

It seems to me that right now there are two technologies that could potentially change the way we understand the legal practice.

I’m talking about Smart Contracts and Artificial Intelligence.

Smart Contracts could change the way we do business with each other, allowing us to “program” many terms even years in advance, taking off the table many trust issues and making things way easier for lawyers.

On the other hand, Artificial Intelligence is not a replacement for lawyers. At least, it won’t be for a while.

But it will give lawyers new research tools that are way more accurate than the human eye to identify relevant information for a case among tons of raw data.

Our ability as humans to change the world through technology, won’t leave legal practice behind.

For further insight, feel free to watch the following videos

How smart contracts will change the world:

Back to the Future

Interesting facts on Back to the future

Posted by Stephanie Medina on

Several studies have been carried out to understand the contemporary system of crime and punishment. However, its full understanding calls for a look into the current social problems and the various strategies that can help deal with them.

Crime and punishment have been seen as a way of getting justice from the colonial times to the present-21stcentury. It should be understood by the system of justice and the subsequent effects of legal undertakings. Let’s delve into this crime and punishment debate and have a look at how the contemporary world has shaped our systems of law and justice.

Section 1: Trials

Trials were done or watched over by community elders such as kings, lords or priests. In the 12th century, determining whether an individual was innocent or guilty was conducted in several ways intended to scare the victim and trigger them to speak the truth. Two trials were common in this error known as trial by fire and trial by water. With the case of fire, the suspect was made for walking across hot burning coal.

As though this was not enough, the individual was demanded to carrying along a hot piece of metal too. After about three to four days, a priest would show up to asses the wounds of the suspect. Healing would suggest God’s favour and person would be declared innocent, failure to which the individual was said to be guilty.
Trial by water consisted of either hot or cold water. The victim was to draw a stone from the bowel of boiling water; the priest would then assess the consistency of the injuries caused to determine the innocence of the suspect. With cold water, the suspect’s hands and feet were bound then thrown into the river. If the person could manage to float, then he was considered innocent.

Section 2: Case of 1215

When Pope Innocent III started watching over the holly community, he restricted priest from engaging in trials of these nature. Claiming that they were not only brutal and inhuman but also illogical. This eventually led to the end of this error off trials

Section 3: The fate of the guilty

Several punishments were available for different crimes. Depending on the type of offence, people were sentenced differently, for example, petty crimes such as bakers selling underweight loaves were fined in some ways including wearing of placards forcefully around the nake.

Section 4: Serious offence

Robbery and murder were considered serious offences, particularly in the 18th century. However, there almost three hundred crimes which were considered capital. Capital offenders were subjected to severe punishment not less than death. Death was carried out through several means including beheading, hanging, and burning while still alive. Surprisingly, decapitation was considered kind to the criminal because it was instant.

Hanging was the fate of notorious criminals and was done in the presence of everyone but ended in the year 1868 where victims were then hanged within prisons. Burning was mostly subjected to criminal women, who either practised witchcraft or even murdered their husbands for whatever the reasons.

Today a lot of policy recommendations have been made to various governments, civil right groups, courts of law and other police agencies to foster and prevent crimes. This has been a significant pillar in the creation and evolution of modern police forces all over the world. Although justice must be served, it must be served in the right proportion.