The legal department is also subject to digital transformation. This ranges from technical optimization of internal workflows to the necessary use of a compliance management system and the introduction of signature procedures for electronic contract conclusion. We accompany our clients with legal advice in all such internal processes. There is also an increasing need for client advice in the handling of disputes.
Smart Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Legal disputes are decided in courts and in arbitral tribunals. In both cases, litigation is facing major transformations, relating to the court cases themselves, but also to their preparation.
Use of legal tech in collective redress
Particularly in the area of collective redress it has become apparent how legal tech applications are able to facilitate the conduct of proceedings. We use intelligent research tools, contract analyzers, exhibit managers, and e-discovery applications, as well as automated pleadings. This allows us to provide our clients with complete analyses of entire data rooms in less time and significantly increase the effectiveness of our trial preparation.
In the future, court proceedings will only be conducted digitally. Electronic lawyers’ mailboxes have already been set up, and the first approaches to introducing purely online proceedings are emerging. In arbitration proceedings, FTP servers have long been in use for uploading submissions and exhibits by both parties. The number of online negotiations has increased significantly both in state proceedings and in arbitral tribunals, not least due to the corona pandemic. This requires a different form of negotiation management and preparation, which we are already implementing for our clients.
Automation of pleadings
The development does not stop at accelerating and facilitating workflows or highly efficient search engines that can search through large amounts of data in a short time. Increasingly, the programs are capable of taking over simple legal applications in their entirety. The first areas of application are the computing of compensation amounts and standardized letters in repetitive case settings. We are constantly looking to optimize our legal work, so that we are able to increasingly concentrate fully on providing strategic advice to our clients.
Automation of judgments
In some countries, pilot projects are advancing into dimensions that were previously considered taboo. In these countries, court proceedings are automated. Decisions are no longer issued by a judge, but by a computer (Estonia and the USA are leading the way). It is only at the appeal stage that a human judge will review the case. Initial steps have also been taken in Germany. The judiciary is developing a binding basic document for legal disputes that can later serve as the basis for automated application of the law. For the parties, the advantage lies in a uniform, predictable, and cost-efficient adjudication practice. The follow-up legal issues of who has sovereignty over programming the “legal machine” relating to individual case justice have not yet been answered. We ensure that our client’s interests are effectively protected even in an automated court environment.
Contract performance is frequently a prerequisite for the desired counter-performance by the contractual partner.
While external verification by third parties has regularly been necessary to prove performance (e.g., delivery to the warehouse by local warehouse management), it is already possible to have contract performance confirmed automatically in some areas through the use of sensors and networking with higher-level software systems. In the future, this technology, mostly based on blockchain (for the term, see link), will replace time-consuming checks on contract performance. Prior to their introduction, however, such solutions require careful examination and contractual safeguarding with regard to framework agreements with the contractual partners. We support our clients in terms of IT law and data protection law and in relation to particular industry-related requirements.