Legal Tech in 2021

14 Feb

Legal tech was no match for 2020. Everyone’s least favorite year wreaked havoc on almost every aspect of the industry, from data privacy upheavals to a complete change in the way employees work and collaborate with data. With the shift to a remote work environment by most organizations in the early spring of 2020, we saw an acceleration of the already growing trend of cloud-based collaboration and video-conferencing tools in workplaces. This in turn, means we are seeing an increase in ediscovery and compliance challenges related to data generated from those tools – challenges, for example, like collecting and preserving modern attachments and chats that generate from tools like Microsoft Teams, as well compliance challenges around regulating employee use of those types of tools. However, while collaboration tools can pose challenges for legal and compliance teams, the use of these types of tools certainly did help employees continue to work and communicate during the pandemic – perhaps even better, in some cases, than when everyone was working from traditional offices. Collaboration tools were extremely helpful, for example, in facilitating communication between legal and IT teams in a remote work environment, which proved increasingly important as the year went on. The irony here is that with all the data challenges these types of tools pose for legal and IT teams, they are increasingly necessary to keep those two departments working together at the same virtual table in a remote environment. With all these new sources and ways to transfer data, no recap of 2020 would be complete without mentioning the drastic changes to data privacy regulations that happened throughout the year. From the passing of new California data privacy laws to the invalidation of the EU-US privacy shield by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) this past summer, companies and law firms are grappling with an ever-increasing tangle of regional-specific data privacy laws that all come with their own set of severe monetary penalties if violated.

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