When lawyers hear the term “legal innovation,” they are typically referring to the development of new ideas and processes to meet the changing legal needs of the business environment. In fact, the phrase has become a buzzword for law firms looking to adapt to the increasingly crowded marketplace.
Innovation is a key driver of change in the legal industry. The legal sector is becoming less regulated and more commoditized, which has led to a loss of market share for law firms. Law companies are leveraging their technological expertise to develop scalable, cost-effective solutions for non-regulated legal activities. They have also laid the groundwork for more scalable alternatives to traditional law firms.
One example is the EBSCOhost database, which provides full text articles and scholarly publications from more than 8,000 business periodicals, as well as company and industry profiles. This content is integrated into a comprehensive system of primary and secondary legal information. For example, the Intellectual Property Database contains case briefs, legislative initiatives, and activities by the U.S. government, the EU, and the World Trade Organization.
Another example is Gale’s Virtual Reference Library, which provides bibliographic information from more than 72,000 libraries across the globe. Students can access federal dockets through the database. Additionally, Gale’s database provides full coverage of federal occupational safety and health programs.
For instance, Seton Hall Law is a leading contributor to the legal community with its focus on mental health and health care. Professor Jacob Elberg, who joined the School of Law in January, specializes in evidence, health care fraud, and data analytics. He was previously an attorney at a national health care firm, and has extensive experience in state health care policy.
Another example is the Social Issues Database, which offers information on social issues. These include federal and state dockets, academic journals, and viewpoint articles. This database is available in both PDF and Web formats. It features contextual information on social issues, as well as continuously updated viewpoint articles.
Some of the databases on the list are specialized in topics such as environmental, labor, or intellectual property. Others provide broader resources, such as the Criminal Law Practice Center or the Accounting for Income Taxes BNA Portfolio.
EBSCOhost also offers practice and compliance resources, including reports on reporting standards, e-books on various topics, and a citation formatter. Westlaw also offers a wide range of scholarly materials on legal topics.
Finally, JSTOR provides current legal news and a library of over 65 business journals. Users can search by topic or browse by region. Also, a newsletter is provided for users interested in environmental law and other areas.
As the industry slowly moves toward a more standardized, business-oriented legal model, it’s important to know where to turn for legal assistance. While many lawyers prefer the traditional dispensation, others are no longer comfortable with the status quo.
With new technologies and processes, there’s no reason why law firms can’t adapt. Legal innovation can help existing clients and new buyers.