University of New South Wales
Faculty of Law - Computerisation
Computerisation of Law
Reading Guide - Computerisation of Legal Practice
Last updated 27 October 2000
= Required reading. All other
links indicate optional reading.
The objectives of this topic are for you to understand the range of technologies
that are affecting legal practice. Litigation support / court technologies
are covered in a separate reading guide, as are legal research systems.
This Reading Guide pulls together a range of technologies not considered
elsewhere, and readings on their impact on the legal profession.
This version of the Reading Guide only provides a list of introductory
readings for each sub-topic.
Some topics include:
Law firm applications of knowledge-based technologies (compliance systems
Use of digital signatures and encryption by the legal profession.
Legal practice via Internet (extranets, email communication with clients
2. Impact of technology on the legal profession
3. Knowledge-based technologies in legal practice
(compliance systems etc)
Knowledge-based systems can be developed by law firms either as internal
tools used by lawyers to assist in the generation of advice to clients,
or documents. Alternatively (as with Blake Dawson Waldron below) they can
be developed to allows clients to do routine legal work themselves, without
need for further reference to the law firm in most cases.
The following papers use the technology used by Blake Dawson Waldron
as an example:
4. Digital signatures / PKI and the legal profession
Encryption and digital signatures, and the framework within which these
can be used (Public Key Infrastructure - PKI) are of great importance to
the legal profession and legal practice in many areas, including filing
of legal documents of many types, privacy and security of email exchanges
of documents, authentication and non-repudiation in transactions, and so
5. Legal practice via Internet
Some lawyers are attempting to carry on legal practice in a different sense
of 'virtual': by providing legal services to clients with whom they do
not have face-to-face contact, but instead deal with all aspects of a matter
remotely via the Internet.
A modification of this is to provide some types of information
and advice services only to clients. This is often carried out by use of
'extranets', where clients have privileged / controlled access to a law
firm's website beyond that available to the general public.