Cloud technology is changing so quickly that it’s difficult to keep up even from day to day sometimes.

What happens when technologists start to visualize where Cloud technologies could take the practice of law in five or even more years down the road?

Eric Sugden, CTO of Thomson Reuters Elite and Thomson Reuters Legal chief architect Mick Atton participated in a panel at LegalTech New York looking ahead at “2025: THE TRUTH ABOUT CLOUD TECHNOLOGY”.

Sugden and Atton foresee several ways in which the Cloud could transform many parts of both the practice and business of law.  Cloud advances mean that access to technologies such as machine learning and Big Data analytics may become widespread if not nearly ubiquitous.

As just one example, virtual assistants are just beginning to emerge in both the office and home, through applications and devices such as Cortana and Alexa.  Connecting them with cloud-based practice management tools could streamline tasks such as managing contacts, recording time & billing, and tracking calendars.

Even greater potential for efficiencies may lie in tying in natural language processing.  For tasks such as legal research or contract management, the ability to conduct research or pull archived documents with a simple voice command could be transformative. “You wouldn’t even need a keyboard,” said Sugden.  “You could just say, ‘find me these types of intellectual property settlements, and how many were dismissed for summary judgment in jurisdiction XYZ.’ It would open up a whole new class of users who may not necessarily know how to best frame that search manually.”

Another game changer may be the “virtually unlimited bandwidth” that Atton foresees for the Cloud. “Just think about what might be possible with that,” he says.  “You could move virtually unlimited amounts of data from device to the Cloud and back to your device or others, while at the same time harnessing incredible amounts of computational power.”  That could open a whole new world of possibilities, such as virtual holographic meetings.

Security will continue to be an on-going concern, and “by 2020, there will be no more on-premises software, it will all be in the Cloud,” predicts Sugden

With technologies such as The Internet of Things, wearable health monitors and autonomous vehicles still emerging, Sugden and Atton agree it’s impossible to predict which applications and tools are likely to take off.  The only certainty, they say, is that the scale of computing ability available to end users will skyrocket as Cloud technologies continue to advance.

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