How to introduce legal tech

October 30, 2023

Legal tech sits at the intersection between the legal sector and digitisation. At its simplest legal tech is the automation and streamlining of legal work using technology (including software tools, AI, and machine learning). Example applications include, smart contracts, eDiscovery, document management, transaction management, document automation, case management, communication and collaboration and business intelligence.

Start from the ‘end’ and start with your ‘system’.

End: what you want to achieve, what is the result you desire? What business issue does it solve for the organisation as a whole?
System: what are your current, processes, procedures and who will be impacted by any changes?

Assessment of needs

Identify the specific needs and pain points within your business (including the legal department). This could include document management, research, contract review, or case management.

What problem are you trying to solve? For example, do you need a document management system, a contract repository, a contract automation tool, or a legal ticket/request system?

Who are you end users? What do the end users need? How can legal tech make their lives easier? Who else will interact with the legal tech? And therefore what interactions and functionalities are required?

What is the key driver for change? Efficiency, productivity and growth? Reduced costs? Better outcomes for the organisation?

Start with a Clear Strategy: Begin by defining your objectives and goals for implementing legal tech. Understand what specific problems or challenges the technology should address.

Involve Stakeholders Early: Engage key stakeholders (lawyers, paralegals, IT staff, etc.) from the outset to gather input and build consensus. Their buy-in is critical.

Align legal tech strategy with needs

Cost-Benefit Analysis: Regularly evaluate the return on investment (ROI) of your legal tech solutions. Assess whether they are delivering the expected benefits in terms of time and cost savings.

  • Compliance: Ensure that your legal tech solutions comply with relevant laws and regulations, especially regarding data privacy and security.
  • Client Communication: Use legal tech to improve communication with clients. Some tools offer client portals or chatbots that can enhance client interactions.
  • Legal Research: Utilise legal research tools to streamline the research process and access up-to-date case law and statutes.
  • Collaboration: Foster collaboration among your team members using collaborative legal tech tools. These can improve teamwork and document sharing.

Identify available legal tech and procurement

Explore the legal tech solutions available in the market (speak to current users, consider their track record). Look for platforms or tools that align with your needs and goals (and meet your budget for purchase, implementation, and ongoing maintenance). Consider factors like ease of use, scalability, and compatibility with existing systems.

Choosing legal tech tools that are intuitive and user-friendly will increase your changes of successful implementation – minimising resistance and shortening the learning curve. Let’s face it, lawyers are not universally renowned for being good with tech…

Ensure the legal tech / tool chosen can meet your needs – have a selection committee made up of key user groups. Given the potentially sensitive nature of legal information, the selection committee should prioritise data security and ensure that the legal tech tools you choose have robust security measures in place to protect client data.

Deploy and implement legal tech

Training: Invest in training for your team. Ensure they are proficient in using the chosen legal tech tools. Training can be through online courses, workshops, or in-house training sessions.

Integration: Integrate the chosen legal tech solutions into your workflow. This may involve customising the software to match your specific processes.

Change Management: Prepare your team for changes in workflow and processes. Communicate the benefits of legal tech and how it will improve efficiency and accuracy.

Pilot Projects: Consider running pilot projects with a small group of users to test the technology's effectiveness and iron out any issues before full-scale deployment.

Training and managing change: Invest in thorough training programs to ensure that all users are confident and proficient with the new technology. Maintain comprehensive documentation, including user manuals and troubleshooting guides, to assist your team. Implement change management strategies to help your team adapt to new workflows and processes. Communicate the benefits and provide ongoing support.

Data Migration Planning: If migrating from legacy systems, plan meticulously for data migration to prevent data loss or errors.

Continuous monitoring and feedback

Testing and Feedback: Continuously monitor the performance of the legal tech solutions and gather feedback from your team. This helps in identifying any issues or areas for improvement.

Analytics and Reporting: Leverage legal tech to generate analytics and reports that can help you make data-driven decisions and track key performance indicators.

Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with the latest developments in legal tech. The field is rapidly evolving, and staying informed will help you make informed decisions about upgrades or new solutions.

Continuous Improvement: Be open to adopting new technologies and refining your processes. Legal tech is a dynamic field, and staying adaptable is key.

Remember that the successful introduction and leverage of legal tech require a strategic approach and a commitment to ongoing improvement. It's not just about adopting the latest tools but also about integrating them effectively into your legal practice or department to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and client service.

Metrics, metrics, metrics

Metrics are essential for demonstrating the value of legal tech in your business. They help quantify the impact of technology on efficiency, cost savings, and overall performance. Here's how to establish and demonstrate the value of legal tech through metrics.

Determine which specific metrics are most relevant to your business goals. Common KPIs include:

  • business and legal time saved: how much time legal tech tools save in various tasks like document review, research, or case management.
  • costs reduced: cost savings achieved through reduced manual labour or fewer errors. Calculate the actual return on investment by comparing the cost of implementing legal tech to the savings and gains achieved.
  • accuracy increased: accuracy and error rate before and after implementing legal tech.
  • productivity increased: increase in the number of cases or clients served.
  • client satisfaction increased: survey clients to gauge their satisfaction with improved services.
  • compliance and risk mitigation: track the reduction in compliance issues or legal risks.

Gather baseline data for these KPIs before implementing legal tech. This establishes a benchmark for measuring improvements. Then compare post-implementation data to the baseline data to quantify improvements accurately. Data should be collected continuously and analysed regularly to identify trends and improvements (most (if not all) of the tools currently available can be configured to collect the data and do the initial analysis).  Share your findings with key stakeholders, such as senior management or clients. Clearly communicate how legal tech has improved operations, reduced costs, and enhanced services.

Even after initial implementation, continue to monitor and report on the metrics to maintain transparency and accountability. You can continue to refine and optimise your legal tech solutions based on the metrics and feedback. Demonstrating a commitment to ongoing improvement reinforces the value of technology.

By consistently tracking and presenting relevant metrics, you can provide tangible evidence of how legal tech positively affects your practice or legal department. This not only demonstrates its value but also helps in making informed decisions about further investments in technology.

Defining the system in which you operate and then implementing legal tech accordingly is a fundamental approach to ensure successful integration. In essence, successful legal tech implementation is about fitting technology into your existing system in a way that enhances efficiency, improves outcomes, and aligns with your organisation's specific needs and goals. This approach ensures that legal tech becomes an integral and beneficial part of your legal operations.

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