In-house Lawyers and Legal Tech

October 7, 2018

LexisNexis UK has published a dedicated Insight report for
in-house counsel titled ‘Legal Technology: Looking Past the Hype’. It is not
going to surprise but it does add a little extra knowledge to the murky pool. According
to Lexis Nexis, over 130 in-house lawyers were surveyed and that data was
augmented by 20 ‘qualitative interviews’ with General Counsel from some of the
UK’s largest in-house legal teams.

The report (you have to register to download it) found that
85% of the General Counsel surveyed have introduced multiple technology types
and are most comfortable using tried and tested legal insight tools. While 57%
of respondents believe that technology investments have already increased their
efficiency, one in five can point to a piece of recently installed technology that
has had low or no usage. Despite this, 60% believe that legal technology will
further improve the accuracy of legal work over the next three to five years –
with 72% expecting technology to enable new data insights during that time.

Additionally, 75% of in-house lawyers expect their law firms
to adopt technology and as a direct result deliver efficiency gains –
specifically lower fees (74%), increased quality (66%) and faster turn-around
times (63%). 45% of those surveyed also expect their law firms to advise on the
best technology to use although 37% of General Counsel do not know what
technology their law firms are currently using.

Sophie Gould, Head of In-House at LexisNexis said: “Our
inaugural Insights in-house report reviews how the issue of legal technology is
being approached by the UK’s in-house legal community.  The in-house role
has changed significantly, and beyond being ‘a good lawyer’ general counsel now
need to drive efficiencies, add real value and demonstrate commercial acumen. 
Our research revealed an interesting range of operational and technological
maturity across in-house legal teams, with some organisations needing to
develop or consolidate their legal operations and technology landscape, while
others were already developing robust infrastructure to undertake strategic and
business transformation roles.” 

LexisNexis suggests what it describes as ‘the best practices
which legal teams can apply to overcome the inertia from over-hyped legal
technology expectations’: 

  1. Remove ambiguity: Have a clear understanding of your
    department’s activities and processes and utilise management information to
    understand key risk areas and cost categories. Only then consider where
    potential opportunities may lie.
  2. Start with problems: Once you know the pain points in
    your team or organisation which need to be addressed, it’s easier to find the
    right solution. While it’s harder to identify legal tech winners and losers,
    never be tempted to force fit solutions.
  3. Make time to innovate: Even though two in three
    in-house lawyers say they lack the time to understand the legal tech market, it
    is vital to carve out time to dedicate to innovation. Building an understanding
    of available solutions is critical to effectively build the business case for
  4. Use multi-disciplinary skillsets:  Bringing in experts
    from other business areas will substantially increase the chances of technology
    gaining traction. Multi-disciplinary teams allow for richer discussions and
    help foster a true culture of innovation.
  5. Select partners well: Effective collaboration is key.
    The effective contribution of both supplier and buyer of legal technology is
    fundamental to success.

Sophie Gould adds: “Legal technology offers huge opportunities
but these will only be realised if all parties take a transparent and
collaborative approach to its adoption and integration. In-house counsel need
to maximise the value from their legal service providers so it is imperative
that they have a clear understanding of the technology used by their law firms,
and how this can benefit them.”