10 Technologies That Changed the Practice of Law [INFOGRAPHIC]

technologies that changed law

(Photo credit: Scott McLeod)

I often write about how quickly technology has changed and how difficult it can be for lawyers to keep up. It’s tough enough to keep abreast of changes in your practice area, let alone staying on top of the latest technology advancements. This is particularly true since technology has changed so rapidly in the past decade. In just the past few years social media, mobile and cloud computing have drastically changed the way that we interact, communicate and work.

But sometimes when you’re smack dab in the middle of change, it can be easy to lose perspective, as I discussed in this post 2 years ago. As part of my discussion, I created a timeline — which I’ve revised below to include the latest wearable technology — to show how quickly cloud and mobile computing arrived upon the scene and impacted so many aspects of our culture:

  • February 2004 — Facebook launched as student-only site
  • April 2005 — Gmail launched in private beta
  • June 2006 — Google Spreadsheets, Google’s first non-email cloud product, launched
  • July 2006 — Twitter launched
  • August 2006 — Amazon EC2 cloud product released in private beta
  • September 2006 — Facebook opened to the public. Its number of users increased from 12 million in 12/06 to 50 million in 10/07
  • June 2007 — iPhone released in US
  • November 2007 — Kindle released in US
  • July 2008 — Apple launches the App Store
  • April 2010 — iPad released in US
  • April 2013 — Google Glass Explorer released in beta to developers
  • September 2013 — Smartwatches first released
  • April 2014 — Google Glass made available to the public

In just a decade, our world was shaped and revamped by technology. This, after much slower growth in the prior century. How much slower? We thought that was an interesting question and wanted to find out. That’s why we created the “10 Technologies That Have Changed the Practice of Law” infographic below, inspired by this post from Bob Ambrogi’s blog, Lawsites. Our goal was to visualize the top 10 technologies that have changed the practice of law.

Check it out and let us know what you think. And feel free to share this legal infographic on your blog using the embed code found here.

10 Technologies that Changed Law


10 Technologies That Changed the Practice of Law

  • 1867 — Typewriters: Mechanized the writing process and greatly increased transcription speed. The first standard typewriter weighed 15 – 25 lbs.
  • 1960 — Copiers: eliminated carbon copies, saving time and reducing printing costs. The xerox 914 model weighed 650-pounds.
  • 1964 — Facsimile Machines: Increased communication speed and reduced mailing costs substantially. In 1960, it took 6 minutes to fax one sheet of paper.
  • 1977 — Desktop Computers: Revolutionized information and knowledge management and data storage. The first computer from Tandy Corp. cost $600
  • 1980 — Word Processing: Made typewriters obsolete and greatly decreased the time needed to create and revise documents, saving time and money. WordPerfect was first released in 1980.
  • 1983 — Computerized Legal Research: Increased research speed and efficiency while eliminating the need to maintain costly law libraries. Both Lexis and Westlaw became accessible via PCs in 1983.
  • 1986 — Laptops: Lawyers were no longer chained to their desks and could work from anywhere. The first IBM laptop weighed 12lbs., cost $1,995 and had 256K Random Access Memory.
  • Mid 1990’s — Internet: Revolutionized communication, interaction, and the way that business was conducted. It took the radio 38 years, the television 13 years and the World Wide Web 4 years to reach 50 million users.
  • 1999, 2007 — Mobile Revolution: Smartphones and tablets made a truly mobile office possible, allowing lawyers to access case-related information from anywhere at anytime. Blackberry got its name from the keypad which looked like the seeds of a fruit. In 2007, all advertisements for the first smartphone,  the iPhone, showed a time of 9:42.
  • 2006 — Cloud Computing Revolution: Cloud computing greatly increased computing power and efficiency while reducing computing costs, making the mobile revolution possible and leveling the playing field, allowing solo and small law firms to compete with larger firms in ways never before seen. Amazon EC2, a service that provides resizable computing capacity in the cloud, was released in beta in 2006.


–Nicole Black

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