Innovative legal teams are increasingly looking to technology to improve processes, cut costs, minimise risks and deliver better services. Introducing the right legal technology is important for in-house teams to operate more efficiently, but deciding which technology to introduce, and how and when, can be difficult.
Legal technology can help in-house teams to better organise resources to meet commercial objectives, as well as identify and highlight quick wins and longer-term goals, allowing them to set priorities and allocate resources at the right cost. The right technology can help smaller in-house teams to function beyond their current capacity and budget, and allow larger teams to streamline legal operations.
“The tools and technology available have the potential to transform what we can do for the business and also how business sees the value that legal teams can create.”
A strong business case is critical to the successful introduction of any new technology. GCs that have secured buy-in from the business have often put together a robust cost/benefit analysis that shows how any proposed legal technology:
Where introducing new technology isn’t an option, alternatives could include exploring existing technology, systems or solutions that can be repurposed or adapted, or partnership opportunities with other teams to introduce technology with wider benefits.
Implementing technology requires careful attention to avoid pitfalls. Here, experienced project managers will periodically refer back to the business case to see whether predicted benefits are being or have been delivered.
Finding the right people to manage the project is also essential, which may mean people outside of the legal profession. Legal technology options and alternative legal service providers are seemingly ever-changing and those that understand and can navigate this area effectively will be most successful.
Focusing on a transformational project should not detract from business as usual activities. And a new focus on technology also requires a new approach to data, making sure that data about legal operations is available to gain new insights that can drive better performance.
“Mindsets need to change so that people can embrace technology and not see it as a threat.”
Legal teams that introduce the right technology can operate more efficiently and provide greater benefit to the business. However, the legal technology market is large, crowded and often full of hype. With improving artificial intelligence (AI) and ever-smarter machine learning entering the market, it’s difficult for in-house legal teams to work out which technologies will genuinely deliver change and efficiencies.
Vendors can lack a detailed understanding of legal and GCs can lack the time and technical knowledge to know whether certain technology can deliver on its claims. Despite this, GCs can still be under increasing pressure to introduce legal technology solutions. In these cases, those who take a step back and assess will be more successful.
Think about the future
What does the legal team need to look like in two to three years?
Assess current processes and activities
Do legal teams understand how technology and innovation can deliver better efficiency and productivity?
Work out the problem to solve
Do not look for a solution where there is no problem.
Consult internally and externally
Ask vendors what they can offer and get advice from across the business to add value to the technology strategy.