A number of brief years in the past, displays about know-how and the regulation typically centered on synthetic intelligence and whether or not robots would change legal professionals, often that includes a cyborg with a chilly stare.

Quick-forward to 2020 and we’re within the grip of a worldwide well being disaster which has pushed know-how even additional up the agenda.

And but, the first driver of know-how adoption has been to maintain (totally human – regardless of any jokes on the contrary!) legal professionals linked: to their shoppers; colleagues; and information.

Current occasions have additionally accelerated debates round whether or not authorized is all the time a particular use case (‘lawtech’ vs ‘know-how’ with a small ‘t’) and whether or not we all the time want one thing ‘new’.

In difficult occasions, there’s a clear case for making essentially the most out of the know-how one already has. However the place to begin? And find out how to overcome any limitations to reaching this?

On the 22 and 23 September the Legislation Society ran its inaugural (and – inevitably – digital) Know-how Convention.

We requested a panel comprised of Catherine Bamford (CEO and founder, BamLegal); Christie Guimond (senior supervisor, innovation and engagement at White & Case LLP); and Helen Lowe (head of authorized operations at easyJet) to deal with this topic. What follows are my key takeaways from what was a really insightful and fascinating panel session.

Guarantee the best sources (individuals) are in place

To get essentially the most out of know-how, you will need to look past what it does and plan for how you anticipate to get worth from it and – most significantly – who will drive this.

With out devoted useful resource in place the total potential of present applied sciences could be missed.

As Catherine Bamford identified, if enterprise as regular has eased off because of the pandemic, now could also be a great alternative for individuals to discover technology-related initiatives. This could possibly be structured – by way of secondments for instance – or inspired extra informally.

For many functions, self-directed studying may be very attainable, with a wealth of free sources accessible on-line.

Look past your individual staff

You don’t all the time have to seek out or procure know-how your self. Helen Lowe’s recommendation was to research whether or not different features, equivalent to procurement or finance for instance, might have already got methods which may rapidly be leveraged by legal professionals.

Know your shopper(s)

In some instances, present know-how might not be used to its fullest potential for the easy cause that not all the issues it may remedy have been recognized. Christie Guimond referred to this as a ‘information hole’ and harassed the significance of taking the time to ask shoppers: ‘what’s the factor that’s protecting you up at evening?’

Don’t overlook free instruments

With the ‘Eat Out to Assist Out’ initiative over there may be, as soon as once more, no such factor as a free lunch. But when your present know-how isn’t as much as a process, you could possibly discover free instruments which is able to do the job.

In Catherine Bamford’s expertise, sure duties for instance automating a easy workflow or non-disclosure settlement, are completely attainable utilizing free instruments.

Once more, this activates committing some useful resource to figuring out these alternatives and exploring what’s accessible.

Begin with collaboration

When assessing whether or not you are able to do extra together with your present know-how, a great place to begin is alternatives to boost collaboration with shoppers.

Helen Lowe expressed the view that shifting away from extra cumbersome methods of working, for instance passing paperwork forwards and backwards by e mail, to utilizing cloud-based collaboration and co-authoring instruments is usually a ‘large alternative that’s being missed’ to make an actual distinction to the dynamic between regulation companies and their in-house shoppers.

Purchasers additionally have to play their half by fostering ‘a really human relationship’ the place legal professionals can really feel comfy working with shoppers wanting over their digital shoulders in real-time and perceive that they don’t seem to be anticipated to get it proper first time, each time.

Evaluate how present know-how is getting used

Implementation and roll-out is just step one.

With out a plan for capturing and reviewing utilization information, it’s possible you’ll be flying blind relating to allocating sources and maximizing ROI.

Downsides could be monetary (for instance, paying important license charges for software program that’s barely used) or extra sensible, equivalent to dropping the chance to identify patterns which might allow you to optimize the person expertise.

Catherine Bamford illustrated this with an instance within the context of robotically producing paperwork based mostly on legal professionals’ solutions to a sequence of questions. If the reply to a sure query is all the time ‘sure’ or all the time no – that query must be eliminated, and the usual place must be mirrored within the default template.

Search for alternatives to combine

As know-how options are added over time, leaping between all of them can grow to be such a irritating expertise that in any other case helpful software program may finally be consigned to a digital retailer cabinet filled with digital mud.

In time, we would see the emergence of a really complete authorized ‘platform’ (bringing many alternative applied sciences collectively as a part of one cohesive interface) – what Christie Guimond described because the ‘Holy Grail’.

Nevertheless, till we discover one platform to rule all of them, there may be another method. Catherine Bamford recommended that the ‘integrators’ can as a substitute be individuals. You possibly can take into account hiring one or two software program builders and/or information scientists and process them with creating extra seamless connections between numerous methods – be they legacy options or new merchandise.

Study from (and educate) your suppliers

When you’re unsure what your present know-how can do – or find out how to obtain a sure consequence – ask the provider! They know their very own merchandise higher than anybody else and assist of this nature is usually included as a part of the provision contract. Don’t be apprehensive about asking for assist, coaching, demonstrations and many others.

On an identical word, distributors received’t all the time know/perceive your particular wants and use instances. Make investments time in serving to them to grasp what you and your colleagues do and what your wants are. They’ll then be higher positioned that will help you establish and leverage any beforehand untapped capabilities of your present know-how which is after all a win-win.

It’s not (simply) concerning the cash

Getting essentially the most out of your present know-how will inevitably require (in any case) some funding of time from you and/your individuals. The place this takes individuals away from price incomes or immediately supporting the revenue-generating actions of your inside shopper, this may seem to be a poor return on funding.

When making these assessments, take a while to contemplate second or third order penalties.

If investing in present know-how leads to new capabilities, extra streamlined person experiences and extra built-in workflows, the legal professionals utilizing will probably be happier. Not solely is {that a} win from a cultural and well-being perspective, it’s going to virtually definitely translate into extra productive – and worthwhile – efficiency.

It’s all about individuals

Reviewing these solutions within the spherical, we discover ourselves again the place we began – speaking about individuals, not robots.

Encouraging and empowering individuals to study and discover. Participating with individuals exterior our authorized bubbles. Speaking and collaborating brazenly with shoppers. Investing in relationships with suppliers.

 

With that, maybe one of the best ways to shut is with this quote from Christie Guimond:

‘All of it boils right down to having the best individuals, with the best skillsets, doing the best issues.’

Thanks once more to our excellent panel in addition to everybody that joined us reside and contributed their ideas and questions for making this such an insightful and fascinating session.

 

Panicos Iordanou is head of economic improvement on the Legislation Society