Shifting gears: Legal Technology beyond risks and compliance
Shifting gears: Legal Technology beyond risks and compliance

As a measure for the widespread adoption of technology, legal tech patent applications have reached a record high this year. In its statement by Thomas Reuters, "The lockdown has forced many lawyers to go through a steep learning curve in the use of collaborative tools," and predicted an uptick in technology adoption as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

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Digital transformation in any organization has to sufficiently ensure legal teams well- prepared for the fast-changing world. With talks of technology adoption looming in every organization, legal functions should not be left behind. The idea is to go beyond addressing just risks and compliances and need-based application of technology. It is about a holistic solution that ensures the organization's overall growth and strategy going well beyond addressing short term risks.
As the legal delivery system is poised for complete transformation in the next decade, technology will dictate this response by eliminating the drudge and rote work in the system in the near future.

Roadmap for a robust legal service delivery

Despite the fact that companies began leveraging legal technology a decade back, automation is still at a nascent stage. The changing economic landscape led by globalisation has ushered higher levels of compliances, governance and risk assessment; hence, newer areas of legal practice. Evidently, the emergence of BlockChain technology, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning capabilities, have the capability to revolutionize legal operations in a big way.

Solutions driven by AI and ML-based technology include,

The use of algorithms and mining of data is the key process underpinning AI. The process requires unfettered access, and extraction of information from big data, that makes it capable of conducting a wide range of activities including:

Document review and legal research:Improved document analysis by providing a 40 to 80% saving on human time for the same amount of work

Due diligence: Accuracy of facts that can uncover the background information of clients

NLP: Unique way that enables computers and humans interact via text, or voice. Chat-box used today is one common example, it acts as an early-port-of call between clients and their lawyers.

Blockchain Technology:

The peer-to peer distributed ledger is used in contract automation processes for an organization. With 60% of the overall legal functions, being related to contract management, widespread use of blockchain technology has the ability to overhaul the existing contracting processes, by streamlining the stages right from the stage of request and initiation till the stage of execution of contracts.

Cloud Computing:

Legal-specific cloud services such as Clio, RazorCube, TimeSolv are designed for lawyers as a fast and scalable way to use advanced legal technology tools without substantial investment in capital or hardware that support the services. The ABA TechReport 2019 on cloud computing presents a picture wherein 60% of the solo and small firms have adopted cloud, while only 44% of the mid-segment law firms reported the adoption of cloud computing in their firms.

Mindful Adoption of Technology

While these long-predicted technology habits have subtly shaped up the present, the intersection of law and technology will predict the efficiency of legal service delivery system, that necessarily has to go beyond addressing risks and compliances, to include:

  • Matter and Case Management platform to track litigation
  • IPR Management suite to manage IPR-related activities
  • Legal Spend and Billing to track spends on external counsels
  • Legal Document Management to track, search, and retrieve documents on time

Besides, a host of tools for efficient streaming of HR-related activities, vendor management tools are the essential tools that one may rely on for end-to-end processes and functions in an organization. Understanding what technology works for the legal department's optimal functioning is as essential as investing, which is why "one size does not fit all." Technology investment for the future has to come with decisive thinking of integrating manual processes with the right technology.