If you think buying a new car is tricky, imagine spending a few hundred thousand pounds on legal tech. Particularly when your current mode of transport / way of working will get you to the right destination, eventually.
The reality facing in-house lawyers who want to move forward with legal technology is they are neither experts in document automation nor change management specialists.
Hence, they lack the skills and experience necessary to choose, buy and implement the very technology they so desperately need and want.
At SYKE we are increasingly coming face to face with legal tech inertia. Lawyers who are stuck in their ways, not because they don’t want to move with the times, they simply don’t know where best to start.
I’ve blogged previously about how we are helping some in-house teams get the most out of Microsoft Office 365, before we venture into more sophisticated legal software solutions.
My advice to large corporates and legal firms wanting to start their legal tech journey in 2020 is as follows:
- Do your homework. This means assessing what you already have access to in-house such as the full suite of Office 365 tools; identifying a problem that actually needs solving; and cleaning up your existing ways of working so that you don’t end up digitizing an already poor workflow or process.
- Start somewhere, and slowly expand. Getting going can be daunting. You’re busy, there’s no extra time in the day to do this. So why not pick an element of your legal operation that takes up an inordinate amount of time, for relatively little value, such as automating your NDAs. Once you see the benefits, it’ll encourage you and the rest of the business to move on to the next stage.
- Don’t over spec or under spec what you require. In our experience people ether buy too few or too many software licenses. How many users in your team or wider organization will actually need access to any new legal tech? Once your legal contracts have all been digitized can colleagues simply self-serve from your existing Sharepoint drive?
- Insist on seeing relevant case studies. Recent examples of the product in action in a similar context to the one you face is essential. If you can’t visualize it working in your company, ask for a better demo.
- Implementation is key. Adopting a new piece of software is only the beginning. Embedding that solution in the organization, getting traction, changing ingrained behaviours and ways of working is always harder than you think, and takes longer than you expect.
Finally, I’d recommend you call in an expert to help you through the process. Find a trusted partner who can ensure you avoid the obvious pitfalls. Someone you trust, who isn’t tied to any particular software solution and therefore can remain an honest broker.
Someone who can not only help you choose the right ‘vehicle’ to buy, but can also help you get the best deal, select the right spec, and show you how to drive the bloomin’ thing.
Sitting patiently alongside you until you are confident drive off into the sunset on your own.
Happy motoring in 2020 😊