We are in a midst of a technological sea change that may well not have any kind of ceiling on it, but to imagine that the legal sector is any different from most other industries – whether media, finance, retail or any other – would be very myopic. Yes, like it or not, technology is disrupting the old paradigms and is here to stay.

Whether you use an Oyster card to commute to work, have replaced your Compact Disc collection with Spotify playlists, shop at Ocado or share your family photos with grandparents on Facebook, the chances are that you are more embedded in the age of digital technology than you might first assume.

Of course, "legal tech" is simply part of this onward march into the digital age even though much of the legal profession might like to believe that it is somehow set apart from other sectors. The truth is that disruption has come to the field of law in much the same way that it has come to everything else.

So, it would probably be a fair assessment to say that there will be no area of legal practice that will be immune to the impacts and disruptions of legal tech and that pretty soon we will not even be thinking of them as disruptions because within just a few short years they are likely to be part of the mainstream processes and infrastructure.

For a start, there are so many complex processes involved with breach of contract legal work that it is a natural candidate for change. And even lawyers involved in areas of work as particular as this will soon hear the inevitable whir of hard drives approaching their desks offering to help with their caseloads, to shave both costs and required working hours.

One area where legal tech might be able to assist breach of contract claims is in pre-case assessment, helping lawyers determine both a case's facts and its likely viability.

Stephen Kane, a fellow with Stanford's CodeX Center for Legal Informatics recently told a legal tech conference that a lot of what he me and his colleagues out of Stanford were thinking about was how to make the legal process "more gender and race blind".

Put it this way, if technology can help reduce bias it can help reduce the reliance on the kinds of potentially inaccurate assumptions that sometimes bend even the most rigorous lawyer's take on a claim for breach of contract.

And Kane should know, he is the founder of ArbiClaims an online dispute resolution platform which has been designed to assist with a variety of breach of contract case types, from non-payment claims, to breach of tenancy contract disputes to claims for defective work.

It is also worth considering the role that legal tech can play in helping to avoid breach of contract claims from arising in the first place. For example, a number of start-ups are engaged in the process of using AI (artificial intelligence) to translate legalese-heavy contracts, that are all but indecipherable to the layperson, into the kinds of plain English that is straightforward and easy-to-understand.

One such company is Legal Robot, whose creator, Dan Rubins, taps a familiar theme when he says that his product is a "way to level the playing field, especially for people who can't afford to hire pricey lawyers".

Of course, legal tech on its own is worthless. Any successful piece of legal tech will require the involvement of good lawyers, as no algorithm, no matter how advanced, can be expected to replace a human who can effectively investigate and argue a case – especially in the realms of breach of contract claims - thankfully, this scenario is a far away dream, still in the realms of unfeasibility.


Click here to return to the Oratto home page