A Way Forward for Legal Publishers



In 2016, the legal publishing industry is in the midst of changes. Technology has changed a large part of the landscape with mankind having a need to access information as soon as possible. As in other industries like entertainment, services, food, education and others, there is an ‘instant culture’ that is prevalent throughout the world. Legal publishers are not immune to this phenomenon. An ability and willingness to adapt with the times will always be rewarded. Staying in the past will not benefit anyone and slow the industry down.

Traditionalistic Apprehension

In the legal world, lawyers and judges actually see legal technology as disruptive to the process and hampering the entire legal process.  Legal publishers, like others, seek to broaden their horizons and go outside the realm of the legal system. For instance, the big three legal publishers (Thomson/West, LexisNexis, and CCH) describe themselves more as legal content providers or information providers.  In essence, online legal publishing has taken precedence over traditional publishing forms. There is a need to act as information platforms and use simple language, so that average people can understand legalese. Lawyers may refer to this as the ‘dumbing down’ of their profession while others would probably see it as the sharing of information.

Traditionalists may scoff at the idea of technology taking over the legal system but in reality, it’s actually a helpful platform. For instance, searching for case laws is no longer an issue. Legal and professional publishing platforms have been created to act as the legal assistant to the lawyer. It’s a matter of going online and searching for the case law in question. It’s as simple as that.

Future of Legal Publishing

Like with most industries, the future of every industry is unlimited. Technology has limitless innovation as digital publishing service providers are trying to cater to every possible need for publishers. Most of them are offering services to digitize old case laws and bring them online. Most people want more for less as they’re unable to meet the external costs to hire external advisors. Instead of a business requiring a law firm, an overseas legal resource team is hired meet all of the client’s demands. Most of these overseas firms will have an IT unit that can build specific platforms for specific cases. Essentially, clients are becoming more cost driven.

Perhaps, another big part of legal publishing news and trends is that it’s becoming more mobile driven. Much like the instant culture that is hampering every other industry; legal publishers are building apps, specifically designed for local consumption. For example, there are several apps that are being catered to cover various laws in different countries like family law, property law, copyright law etc. The more investment there Is, the more chances there will be more apps catered to different types of law.

There are many innovations that could change the way legal publishing is practiced. Innovation is a tidal wave that has changed everything in its path. Legal publishers must innovate or face a very uncertain future.