Springer Nature has been on a fascinating legal tech journey over the past 12 months. A relatively small team of four lawyers are now able to focus on doing high-value work, as business users self-serve 95% of contracts.
There’ve been huge savings in time, the equivalent of 50 days saved in the first half of the year alone. Next year, Rachel thinks the Contract Express system they’ve installed will handle more than 300,000 agreements, as more and more of the business moves to digital.
Her approach was to start small, working with in-house teams and business users that were ready to make the switch, focusing on quick wins, and capturing the data that helped tell the story of the positive impact the tech was making.
She says: “I think that the most important thing is not trying to bite off more than you can chew and just starting with one small thing and choose something that’s really relevant for your business, do it in a small way, test it, get feedback, iterate it, and then allow it to grow a little bit and get its own advocates in the business that then help you roll it out rather than trying to come up with an enormous strategy from the very first day. ”
Rachel chose to start with contracting, with two or three contracts. Contracts that were easily automated, easy to standardise, but would have quite a big impact because they were heavily used. As a result, they’ve significantly reduced the drafting time, for example, for an NDA it is now down to less than 10 minutes.
Her advice to other GCs is simple: identify one key pain point and work really hard to understand that. She would also advise engaging a partner to help you. There is so much knowledge on legal tech. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Use the benefit of other people’s learnings to bring you up the curve.
Rachel started with a survey of her own legal team in terms of looking at pain points. What is it that stops you from going home on time? What are the things that are the most difficult for you to get through during the day? And she also did some testing with the business, with their internal customers as to what their pain points were.
She says legal tech has liberated the team. It’s enabled Springer’s small legal function to do more of the work they enjoy. It’s improved service to the business. It’s given the legal function real credibility in the business because it now approaches technology and innovation in the same way that other areas of the business do.
And it’s a really enriching experience, learning a new skill.
Tune in to find out more.