Dispute resolution became entirely virtual when the pandemic hit, pushing the legal sector into a new phase of digitalisation.
Digital Nation Australia spoke to Laura Keily, Barrister at the Victorian Bar and founder and managing director of dispute resolution technology company Immediation. According to Keily, the organisation was founded to assist the legal sector in progressing in its digital transformation journey.
“When I started at the Bar eight years ago, which was 15 years into my legal career, we were still wearing wigs to court, and the level of technology was commensurate with that. So that's one of the reasons that I started the company was to try to move things along,” says Keily.
The shift she has seen in the profession has transitioned from discussing whether or not online mediation technology would be useful to clients, to discussing “the best way to future proof this system.”
“How's the technology best implemented, knowing that it's no longer going away? So it's been a complete shift, almost 180 degrees,” she says.
According to Keily, lawyers are seeking specialised solutions to improve their offering to clients.
Immediation’s solution is a specialised video based digital collaboration tool designed to digitise dispute resolutions, including negotiating settlements and virtual court hearings.
“The video based collaboration tool acts like literally a digital courtroom when you're in court or if you're mediating, it acts like a mediation suite where people used to physically go and do their work as well as a whole lot of tools that surround that to help both the lawyers and also the clients to go through a more streamlined, seamless process.”
While the virtual court is one area that has already undergone digitalisation through solutions like the one Immediation provides, Keily says the process that’s clients go through in order to decide whether or not they go to court is still largely done offline.
“That's really the new frontier that we're starting to push into. And that part is not yet digitised. So they're still going through the same old process of ringing their lawyer and having a client file and ending up in a barney in court.”
“That whole process that people go through, I think could be a lot more intuitive and a lot more streamlined.”