TORONTO, April 22, 2021 /CNW/ - Today, the Law Society of Ontario's Board of Directors (also known as Convocation), approved a five-year pilot project which will allow the Law Society to assess the potential benefits of innovative technological legal services (ITLS) while enhancing public protection.
Technological advancement in the legal sector accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic with the adoption of digital and online tools by public institutions, private enterprises, and community organizations. Through websites, apps and software, ITLS providers offer tools to help people find legal information, answer routine questions, navigate legal processes, analyze contracts, generate legal documents or predict outcomes. Despite the growth of digital innovation, standards for competent and ethical legal tech services have not been established.
"The Technology Task Force recognizes that there are significant changes resulting from technology in the legal sector, as in other sectors and industries when innovative technologies transform markets and consumer choices," said Bencher Jacqueline Horvat, Chair of the Technology Task Force. "Inaction on the Law Society's part would risk allowing ITLS providers to proliferate in Ontario outside of an effective regulatory scheme."
The project will launch in the fall of 2021 and following the launch, the public and the professions will be informed of developments through quarterly project newsletters and annual reports to Convocation.
Approved applicants to the Law Society's pilot project will be permitted to provide ITLS tools and programs in Ontario while complying with appropriate standards, accountability measures and reporting requirements. The five-year pilot project will inform any future policy decisions on ITLS, facilitate access to justice and enhance public protection.
"Today the Law Society demonstrated that it understands the need to start reflecting much more deeply on the technologies that are fundamentally changing our professional and personal lives," said Teresa Donnelly, Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario. "I am very proud that the Law Society is showing leadership, innovation and modernization in this critical area by launching this pilot. This is an exciting time to learn more about emerging legal technologies. I look forward to working with our stakeholders and licensees as we launch this project."
The full report by the Technology Task Force and an FAQ are available online.
The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario, and to act in a timely, open and efficient manner.
SOURCE The Law Society of Ontario
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