Starlink will have a profound effect on Legaltech. Bringing highspeed, low latency, and high bandwidth internet to rural communities will democratize law practicing. Using legal tech in the city is quick, easy, and convenient. In rural communities, however, major hurdles still exist. When your upload and download speed is expressed in kilobytes instead of mega- or gigabytes using legal tech is prohibitively slow, inconvenient, and in some cases costly. Rural law firms in underserved communities face an uphill battle. Clients too are at a disadvantage. More hours are spent on the same case, thus costing them more than their city counterparts.
What And Why Starlink
Starlink is Elon Musks’ latest venture set on disrupting the internet industry. For now, Starlink is part of SpaceX, Musks rocket building, and space transport service. Starlink is a mega constellation of thousands of satellites that aim to bring space-based internet connections to underserved regions. From the Brazilian rainforest to Smallville, Wyoming Starlink aims to bring fast and reliable internet to those places. As of now, Starlink has begun its beta testing in the United States, with some rural users reporting speeds over 160 Mbps. According to speed test provider Ookla, speeds like those are faster than 95% of all connections in the United States. The 900 satellites at Lower Earth Orbit (LEO) are just a fraction of what is to come if SpaceX is to be believed. The company aims to put more than 30 000 satellites in LEO providing global coverage.
Anyone living far beyond city centers in the US, Canada, Australia, and so on knows the struggle slow internet brings. Where law practicing has finally made a major swing this year towards online trails, client intakes, and numerous other aspects, rural lawyers could be left behind even more. Cloud software for lawyers is, rightfully, the norm. Almost every legal software on the market needs an internet connection to function optimally. Files send to and from clients are getting larger than ever. A rural lawyer would have no chance to file fully serve a client that has CAD-models or big databases that he wants to legally protect.
Starlink Will Change Legaltech Use By Rural Lawyers
So how does Starlink change the equation? Businesses, law firms, and others, often have to make do with below 1 Mbps download speeds. If they want more dedicated service, firms are forced to pay sometimes up to millions of dollars to lay a few more miles of cable. Starlink, estimated to cost around $99 per month for small businesses makes changing providers a no-brainer. Not only do download and upload speeds for firms to increase with multiple orders of magnitude, latency decreases, and download limiting restrictions are a thing of the past. This means not only do rural lawyers get to work offline with Starlink, they can video call clients, or fellow colleagues or judges. In the era of working remote, rural lawyers could get a significant edge in hiring. Their office costs, like rent, are lower, and the cost of living in the era is lower. Meaning there are more dollars to go around for hiring remote workers. A very large minority of legal interns come from rural eras. These are often forced to move to cities to find an internship. Starlink could help prevent this decades-long brain drain from rural eras to the cities.