As part of measures put in place to
contain the spread of the ongoing pandemic COVID-19, the Nigerian government
has ordered the total shutdown of all businesses and organizations excluding
those providing essential services for a period of two weeks in states such as
Lagos, Ogun and also the Federal Capital Territory.  Although the government, in recognition of the
financial hardship this lockdown is likely to cause has put in place steps such
as the injection of one trillion naira into the economy, reduction in the price
of petrol, and supply of foodstuffs etc. 
all to be a form of relief to its citizens, it does not mitigate the
hitch in the operations of private businesses and its attendant financial
detriment.  One of the sectors
particularly affected is the legal sector especially following the directive of
the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, to suspend all
court hearings till further notice. Lawyers might be rendered incapable of
attending to their clients, but not if they embrace Information Technology
(IT).  This work aims to expose the concept
of IT and mention a few of the ways in which it could be beneficial to the 21st
century lawyer


technology” was coined in 1958 by Harold J. Leavitt and Thomas L. Whisler in a
Harvard Business Review article because the new technology did not have an
established name  and comprised  several parts.[1] Even though, at that  time the  potentials of this technology was yet to be
understood, there was however no doubt in the minds of the authors that it
wielded a life-changing ability.[2] A cursory glance might misbelieve
IT to be one with  computer science,
however they differ in scope. For while computer science deals with the
effective programming of computer hardware and software which in turn births
subfields such as artificial intelligence (the programming of robots to act
like humans), information technology is the application of technology to
diverse sectors of the society.[3] It is described by Roger
Carter to be ‘the use of technology to aid the capture, storage, retrieval,
analysis, and communication of information whether in the form of data, text,
image or voice.’[4] IT is in fact the collection of
equipment that aid the organization and analysis of data.[5] It thus encompasses such
things as televisions, smartphones, computers, printers and other computer
peripherals. What is essential is that such device must be able to manipulate

the years, the significant impact of IT has become undeniable. IT has become an
integral part of our lives that rarely, do we have to do anything manually
anymore. For instance, it has aided the media sector in the transmitting and
broadcasting of programs. We have access to news  across the globe 24hours each day and this
wouldn’t have been feasible were it not for IT.[6]  The invention of  railways, aircrafts, and automobiles were
largely promoted by IT and this has facilitated the transporting of people from
even very remote places to any destination in the world, no matter the
distance. Health care has also benefited by the discovery, improvement of
vaccines and equipment to combat even the deadliest of ailments.  The banking system could not be so automated
and tightly secured if IT did not lend its services.   What more of the business sector which can
now manage data with ease, interact cordially with customer and even monitor
returns. How about the legal sector?


relationship between IT and law may seem obscure  since the nature of IT is “fast, schematic
and  futuristic” while that of lawyers
are “cautious, verbose and old-fashioned.”[7] But it must be remembered  that law entails the processing of
information.  It is thus intertwined with
information. In fact, they’re both inseparable,
they’re Siamese twins
.[8]  As such, IT should play the important role
of  managing and organizing such
information to ensure availability and easy access. Fortunately, there has been
a collaboration between these two disciplines.  An earliest example of this development can be
traced to the transition from handwritten scrolls to typewritten documents via
a typewriter.  This has also progressed
now into the drafting of legal documents with software such as Microsoft Word
and its printing with a printer.

 Legal research took on an electronic face when
in the United States (US), the computer assisted legal research (CALR) promoted
the development of websites such as Westlaw and Lexis which stores several
judicial decisions, articles that in order to aid lawyers, jurists, professors
and law student in carrying out quality research.[9] This move has been adopted
in other jurisdictions, including Nigeria where here is the existence of
websites such as LawPavillion and Legalpedia providing a similar service. Electronic
casebooks have also been introduced by the storage of large volume of cases on
a CD-ROM. Individually, Law firms have also utilized the internet by creating
blogs where they write articles, commentaries etc. all to educate their
clients. In fact firms like Aluko&Oyebode  and Banwo& Ighodalo, issue a newsletter
monthly to educate the public.[10]  Law firms have also  created on their official websites,  online form by which their actual and
potential clients can reach out to them, in order to eliminate the barrier of
distance or time constraints.

has also been applied effectively to bridge the problem of physical barrier and
it has been found quite suitable for arbitration proceedings. In addition to
this, many Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platforms, simply put online form of
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) abound for the effective and efficient
resolution of disputes. Social media applications such as Linkedln, Facebook,
Whatsapp etc. and email also help lawyers network and share files even in a
court sitting. The legal education is not entirely left out as now there exists
in the Nigerian Law Schools an e-handbook to make studying easier for students.

the presence of all of these, it might sound absurd to still pick it as a
subject for discussion, however an investigation into how often IT is embraced
by lawyers reveals that lawyers pose 
somewhat resistant IT. Why? I’m not too sure but it might be because law
as we all know is conservative and as such lawyers are encouraged to be sober
members of the society. Perhaps this explains the preference for the old ways
and reluctance to accept new trends. For instance, it is reported that  back in the mid-2000s, law firms opposed the
idea of an email,[11] and even now that you
could believe that every lawyer owns a smartphone,  the American Bar Association (ABA), reports
that 98% of them do not use these phones to its full potential; usage for them does
not extend beyond calls, texts and emails.[12]  There are even stories flying round about
lawyers accusing colleagues patronizing e-libraries of lacking comprehensive
understanding of the law. To the former, the presence of a printed material is
an essential. Removal of that and there just isn’t commendable research.


the present situation, ranging from closure of law firms to suspension of
court-sittings, IT is one medium by which a lawyer can continue to offer her
services. Here are a few reasons why IT should be embraced by every lawyer:

1.      Flexible
working time
: rather than complain about how
exhausting, monotonous and boring a 9-5 job can be, IT affords a lawyer the
opportunity to work from everywhere, including their homes on days they cannot
be at the firm. This would even aid to reduce traffic on the roads and make
movement easier for lawyers who must appear in court.

2.      Efficient
and Speedy Research:
there is a whole lot of information on the internet that can be
harnessed by the lawyer as he carries out his research. What’s even better is
that there is no geographical boundary to the availability of this information
and as such utilization of them produces a quality, time, energy and money
saving research.  In addition to this,
lawyers can create a blog or website where they can upload their
well-researched opinions as this would also earn recognition.

3.      Client
: when a lawyer can provide up-to-date
information, maintain contact with clients and speedily execute tasks, it is
only natural that clients would be pleased and of course a strong client-base
would pull in more clients. IT applications such as Zoom can be used to hold
meetings with clients in order to avoid the difficulty that cones with
scheduling a physical meeting.

An extra skill:
In the midst of the intense competition out there amongst lawyers,  the “infotech conscious”  lawyer  definitely has an edge over the “infotech
unconscious” lawyer.[13]  Russ Abney agrees with this by saying that : these technologies are a must for
litigators. Whichever on the go solution you choose; you will have an edge over
opponents who still lug their paper files into court[14]

5.      Networking:
no man is an island of knowledge, and as such no lawyer can have every
information at his/her disposal. There is always something to learn from a
colleague or senor at the bar.  You never
can tell, you might require a file urgently someday in court and then you would
wish you had your fellow’s email address so you can easily text him for
this.   Most importantly, lawyers we occupy
a very prestigious position in the society, and so should be there for one

6.      IT
provides so many mediums through which a lawyer can store thousands of files,
move them around conveniently and even access them. They include laptops, flash
drives. Hard disks, CD-ROMs and even Cloud.

7.      Intellectual
property lawyers can easily monitor the works of their clients in cyberspace
and be informed of any infringement at once.


 As Paliwala puts it, ‘…The
development of the global legal practice means that lawyers need to be globally
aware in ways which are beyond the limits of traditional law libraries and
books.’[15] As new areas of law
continue to spring up, it necessitates a shift from the old ways in order to
provide solution to the  new issues that
arise in these areas. Only an informed lawyer can do this and IT offers a whole
lot of information. Therefore, lawyers cannot continue to deny the relevance of
IT especially where they live in a society propelled by technology. The
yardstick for determining a well completed legal education and also a successful
lawyer lies in how well he/she has been able to apply his legal education in
addressing individual/societal problems. Lawyers must now take the pains of
understanding IT and applying it lest they find themselves incompetent in face
of situations such as the present closure of businesses.




is a student of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos.

Harold J. Leavitt and Thomas L. Whisler, ‘Management in the 1980’s’, Harvard Business Review, November, 1958,
(accessed 1st April 2020).

[2] Ibid.

[3] ‘What is information technology or IT?
Definition and examples,’ Market Business
(accessed 1st April 2020)

CARTER, R., Students Guide to Information
, London: Heinemann Newner, 1990, pp. 2-3. Cited in Nwachukwu Chukwuma E., Application of information technology to
legal practice: perspectives, problems and prospects
(accessed 6th April 2020)

[5] Ecpi
University ‘How do Information systems help organizations thrive?’ The ecpi blog, 3rd March 2018
(accessed 5th April 2020)

[6] Priyanka
Sharma ‘Information technology is the backbone to al sectors’, Scholarship Positions, 25th
August 2012 https://www.google.com/amp/s/scholarship-positions.com/it-sector-is-the-backbone-to-all-industries/2012/08/25/amp/
(accessed 5th April 2020)

[7] Arno
R. Lodder, Anja Oskamp, (eds.), Information Technology & Lawyers research.vu.ni

[8] Com.
Ibrahim Babayidi Maikasuwa, ‘ICT and legal profession in Nigeria-an impact
analysis’ Nigerian Law Claz blog, 24th
June 2017,

Ifeoluwa A. Olubiyi, Ayobami J. Olaniyan, and Ngozi
Odiaka, ‘The Role of Technology in the
Advancement of Legal Education and Practice in Nigeria’


[10] accessible
at their websites

[11] Alex
Heshmaty ‘Legal tech in 2018: threats and opportunities’ The Law Society blog, 13 June 2018 https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/news/blog/legal-tech-2018-threats-and-opportuinities/
(accessed 6th April 2020)

‘5 ways technology will change the legal industry this year’ JMARK blog https://www.jmark.com/5-ways-technology-will-change-the-legal-industry-this-year/
(accessed 6th April 2020)

[13] Bernard ’Femi Jemilohun, ‘The
information communications technology revolution
: Imperatives for the 21st
century Nigerian lawyer’ www.academia,edu. (accessed 6th
April 2020)

[14] Russ Abney ‘Take Your Data With
You’ Texas Bar Journal Vol. 68 No 3 p.200 cited in
Bernard ’Femi Jemilohun, ‘The
information communications technology revolution
: Imperatives for the 21st
century Nigerian lawyer’ www.academia,edu. (accessed 6th
April 2020)

[15] A
Paliwala:  ‘Learning in Cyberspace’ The Journal of Information, Law and
Technology (JILT
) cited in Bernard ’Femi Jemilohun, ‘The information
communications technology revolution: Imperatives for the 21st
century Nigerian lawyer’ www.academia,edu. (accessed 6th
April 2020)