What does the word 'legal' mean?
The law has changed a lot since its inception. Having left the days of paperwork long behind us and moved to an age where everything is online, the legal profession has been transformed beyond recognition. There's a lot to be said for hard drives over hard copies, but nevertheless, it can be tough to keep up with the pace. So before diving into the details, let's take a look not only at what's changed, but also what has stayed the same.
The simplest definition of the word 'legal' is 'connected with or allowed by the law', as defined by the Cambridge Dictionary. Simply put, if an action is deemed 'legal', it is conforming to the law and is therefore not punishable in an official capacity. The legal system has provided society with structure and guidelines for thousands of years, ever since the first known rules were inscribed onto a four-ton slab of diorite in c1755 BC. Back then, laws were mainly centred around the legal environment of business, with fines and harsh punishments put in place for cheating and theft. Laws of retribution were commonplace; an eye for an eye – sometimes literally. Today's laws – at least, in the United States – no longer involve dismemberment, but do focus mainly on human rights. Concepts like justice, freedom and equality are among their core principles, with an emphasis on individuals taking responsibility for their actions. The law is aimed at protecting the majority, and as long as an individual abides by the rules, they are free to live without any further restrictions.
As members of the public, we usually think of 'legal' as meaning 'allowed by the law', and we encounter it on a daily basis. It's everywhere, from the road signs we drive past on our way to work, to the houses or apartments we come home to. It's even present in our jobs themselves. For the average person, there isn't too much to remember. After all, many laws are intuitive – things most of us know innately – and there are also constant reminders. From speed limits to lease agreements, the term 'legal' is never far from our minds. But for law firms, things aren't so simple. US laws run into the thousands, and legal professionals not only need to keep abreast of their development, but also their economic impact.
The past few years have created a huge demand for legal assistance. Professor David Wilkins ’80, faculty director of the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession, cited concerns such as racial justice, sustainability, the pandemic and its following economic crisis, and the war in Ukraine as reasons for this. These issues have all had an impact, causing government officials to turn to lawyers for help with government aid programs, and individuals to seek advice on subjects such as filing for bankruptcy. Wilkins explained: “All of these issues are landing on desks of lawyers in law firms, in-house legal departments, and government offices. The pandemic and related issues have highlighted the importance of law and lawyers — in fact, the rule of law has never been more important.” The sudden upsurge in working remotely has also created waves. Meetings with clients that were previously carried out in person have had to move online, and where professionals were once able to meet in person for document signing, legal business software now dominates the process.
Safety and security
In today's digital age, where information is cloud-based and business legal software is the new diorite, it's more important than ever for companies to protect their information. In the past, the only way criminals could access private information was through breaking into a physical office or storage unit. However, with everything online, cyber attacks have become commonplace and have left many wondering: is practice manager software legal and safe? The answer is yes, but only if legal businesses invest in cybersecurity and comply with data protection laws. Secure document sharing platforms have become vital for law firms, whether they are working on a large scale, or simply looking for small business legal software. Add-ons that allow users to securely electronically sign documents are particularly important, as it is not always possible to meet in person.
Products to help
For this reason, legal firms need software that is up to the task. If you're looking for the best cloud based legal practice management software, look no further. CoraLegal is a secure document sharing and collaboration platform for law firms, which allows you to share files securely, both internally and with clients. Its newest add-ons, e-Signature and Notary, allow an infinite number of users to sign electronic documents, as well as invite Notary Publics to electronically notarize documents. These features are designed to help streamline businesses, and increase their daily productivity. All new users will receive a month (30-day) free trial with no card commitment down and a 1:1 demo with CoraLegal's product expert.
Whether it's been put in place to protect or punish, empower or control, the law has played a pivotal role in our history. With the recent events that have reshaped the way we work and live our daily lives, it's arguably never been more important – and the legal profession has had to keep up. For this reason, it is vital to choose the right legal business software for your company, both for peace of mind over safety and security, and its streamlining qualities. The legal profession has seen a surge in its workload over recent years, but helpful software can go a long way to reducing that workload and creating a calmer, less stressful environment in the workplace – whether it's at the office or in the home.