With almost every business putting pressure on its legal team to deliver ‘more for less’ and budgets tightening while delivery expectations rise, it’s unsurprising that some people are starting to look at technology for ways to lighten the load.

Look around, though, and you’ll see that most of the people building the technology are not really close enough to legal work, and its challenges, to deliver a solution that’s truly fit for purpose. Big enterprise systems are clunky and hard to use, lots of areas are being commoditised, but few are solving real problems and adding value.

Add to that the fact that, according to a Radiant Law survey, more than three-quarters (78%) of general counsel lack separate budgets for process and technology services, despite exactly the same percentage identifying a “compelling need” for them, and you’ll see why many in-house legal teams are struggling to get to grips with the opportunities that technology can bring to legal contracting work.

Technology isn’t the panacea it’s sometimes made out to be, and it’s unlikely to take the place of lawyers any time soon, either. The solution to a fully-optimised legal team delivering at peak productivity is almost certainly a balanced combination of people, process and technology.

Implementing technology solutions doesn’t necessarily need to mean a business-wide transformation project, either, with all of the time, money and upheaval that entails. It’s about incremental improvement; find a problem that will benefit from a simple solution that can be expanded, using technology in a sensible way to move the ball forwards.

 

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Client feedback, Chambers 2016

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