Tips to improve Legal Tech in Law Firms

by Roland Vogl

I see following opportunities for improvement in firms:

    • Technology Evaluation Process: Technology includes legal research, practice management, knowledge management, expert systems, analytics technologies as well as visualization software to illustrate data and concepts. Firms should leverage technology to its maximum capability. To that end, technology needs to be integrated across a firm’s operations. Many firms, however, currently do not appear to have a process of tracking, evaluating and reassessing the use of technology in the firm. A well-developed technology evaluation process continuously addresses the question of how well a technology solution integrates with the firm’s efforts and goals. This type of technology evaluations process also considers adoption of suitable new technologies or when to discontinue the use of certain technologies that are no longer useful.
    • Knowledge Management: Many firms currently do not appear to have a systematic way of capturing the cutting-edge expertise of the firm. This creates inefficiencies in supporting the current business model. Having a framework for systematically capturing the knowledge held by the firm can also allow the firm to reposition some of its services and open new revenue opportunities (e.g., through expert systems).  More comprehensive knowledge management would also reduce internal training costs for both paralegals and lawyers and potentially improve the consistency and quality of the firm’s legal work product.
    • Technology as Competitive Advantage: Clients expect transparency, fast turn around and real-time access to the work product. Junior lawyers expect a technology-enabled workplace which provides for new opportunities to develop marketable skills. Beyond streamlining the firm’s internal operations and improving the delivery of legal services, technology can serve as a differentiator that can add to the firm’s competitive advantage in recruiting and retention, image and branding.
    • Technological Upgrades: Certain technological upgrades can provide significant efficiency gains.  Some of these upgrades are relatively low costs and provide very high return on investment in both productivity and employee satisfaction.

So my general recommendations would be:

    • Establish IT governance that ensures that IT is aligned with firm strategy.
    • Set up recurring technology meeting; and create more opportunities to share expertise and best practices.
    • Establish a technology committee that evaluates (on an ongoing basis) technology integration in the firm.
    • Broaden definition of knowledge to be captured in knowledge management system; make it easier for all staff to access and contribute to the system.
    • Use of the knowledge management system should be required and a component in performance evaluations.
    • Maximize overall ease of use for all technology users.
    • Deploy and utilize new collaboration tools across the entire team.
    • Consider working with Legal Tech start-ups.
    • Consider a webinar series for clients and prospects.