Back to Blog

Building a “Technology Resilient” Legal Department

Published On : September 6, 2023
Tips for building technology resilient legal department

Some tips from Knovos, for thriving in a transforming legal tech landscape

For years, legal teams enjoyed a reputation for being resistant to change but in the rapidly evolving legal tech landscape, we are seeing advancements that redefine the industry more and more often. Right now for example the legal world is transforming with the emergence of Generative AI, Automation, and Virtual Legal Assistants. There is an ever-growing list of new software solutions too…many of them game changers.

Amidst this legal practice transformation, creating a work environment that fosters technology resilience within the legal department is important a) it will help navigate these challenges sustainably and show  operational adaptability, and b) by doing so, legal teams can stay in line with the curve.

There is also another reason why this is a topic for legal practitioners. Today, successful GCs are not just legal advisers but also strategic leaders striving to reinvent the operating model of the legal team and ‘hopefully’ the entire company in turn. As per Gartner’s study, 92% of GCs spend less time on strategic matters than they would like (Source: 2022 top priorities for legal, compliance, and privacy leaders). The aim of the game is to create a bit of harmony in your organization – between people, processes and tech.

In this article we will set out some of our top tips for embracing tech change in your legal team.

Regularly discuss the advantages of technology

Consider referring to new technology alongside expressions like “staying competitive” “fresh perspective” “fast pace of our business” and “solutions to solve inefficiencies”. Mention that when we use technology well, legal teams become more resilient when faced with change.

Of course, this has to be done in conjunction with your IT training, streamlining workflows, and regularly evaluating new technology solutions … all of which helps build a skilled and resilient team. Buy-in from top leadership, will certainly follow when they see how all this can enhance performance and achieve cost savings.

Crisis Preparedness and Business Continuity

Remember the situation just a few years back – the legal industry and others experienced significant disruption during the pandemic. The sudden shift to remote work, security concerns, collaboration issues, and other challenges caught many off-guard. This is a valuable lesson on the importance of preparedness for the unforeseen. Legal departments must have well-defined crisis management plans and business continuity strategies to maintain resilience… and this of course often involves adapting to new technology.

Foster a Collaborative Culture

A collaborative culture encourages open communication, knowledge sharing, and cross-functional alliances – too often the phrase “I need to run this past Legal” is dreaded. This will change gradually once the legal team embraces technology change, as they will gain a reputation for adaptability.

We get that it is challenging for legal teams to indulge in collaborative activities (and changes generally) amidst demanding work schedules but it is precisely the adoption of tools like automation/ADP which can work wonders in redressing this, freeing valuable time. Professionals can use this time to do collaborative tasks like occasional brainstorming sessions, and projects that encourage collaboration and foster tech resilience.

Harness Technological Innovations

Some of the most beneficial software solutions out there, are ripe for use by legal professionals such as case project management systems, contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions, eDiscovery, GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) solutions, Image Analytics, and AI-powered analytics, to achieve significant enhancements in efficiency and risk assessment.

Embracing these technological innovations, empowers legal teams to adapt swiftly, reduce manual workloads, and concentrate on strategic decision-making. One substantial justification for onboarding a new holistic technological solution is to stay prepared for unplanned work. As per Gartner’s study, an estimated 20% of the legal department’s time spent on unplanned work is wasted, in the form of rework or over analysis (Source: Increase efficiency in unplanned legal work).

Last but not least… Call in the experts!

At least once a month, have an expert from a legal technology company come in and do a live demonstration on their solution(s). Encourage your whole team to attend, consider doing it during lunch and perhaps put on a few nice snacks – that normally draws a crowd! Most legal technology companies will be delighted to do a demo for a legal team and show off their wares. If the setting is right, the attendees will start asking good questions at the end of these presentations as they understand more and more about how the tech works, as well as compare and contrast different solutions. As familiarity grows, so will the confidence with new technology, bringing down those shrouds and increasing tech resilience.

Conclusion

Legal departments do not just need to adapt; they should thrive in these changing times. By creating a resilient ecosystem that embraces technology, legal teams can position themselves for long-term success. This strategic approach will help ensure legal departments are equipped to navigate the legal tech landscape and overcome any challenges that may arise. This resilience, once achieved means your legal department can become an even more valuable asset to the organization, not just through managing black&white legal but also by contributing to its advancement and sustainability, in an increasingly tech driven industry.

Author

Sid Jiwnani (Director - Europe)
Sid is a solicitor at Knovos with specialist knowledge of legal technology such as automation and eDiscovery.