On August 26, we at Loio had the pleasure to host a webinar on legaltech adoption at law firms. There, the international audience from the U.S., UK, Canada, South Africa, Dubai and many more places around the globe learned about all the nuances of law firms’ digital transformation from three legaltech experts.
We had the pleasure and honor to have these wonderful gurus as speakers:
- Jennifer Ellis, Chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Solo and Small Law Firm Section, owner at Jennifer Ellis, JD, LLC, an expert in legal technology, marketing, and legal ethics.
- Colin Levy, Consultant Legal Expert in North America at Jameson Legal Tech, legaltech thought leader, experienced writer, and public speaker.
- Sharan Kaur, ex-Thomson Reuters, Founder and Legal Technology Consultant at Core Management Solutions, member of the Advisory Board at Capacity and The Legal Technologist.
Don’t worry if you couldn’t attend the event. In this article, you will find the most insightful takeaways from the webinar.
- What are the key benefits of adopting legaltech?
First of all, legaltech brings organization and efficiency to the law firm. Technology enhances collaboration across functions, enables more data-driven decision-making, and increases the transparency of the processes. Furthermore, it allows lawyers to spend more time on strategic work by relieving them from time-consuming and low-value tasks.
What is more, legaltech becomes a distinguishing factor for young talents in terms of the job search. Junior lawyers and law school graduates are more and more seeking to work for organizations that have already adopted legal technology, gently avoiding those that have not. So, besides being an efficiency booster, legaltech can also serve as a magnet for young talents in the law industry.
- How can you decide if your business is ready for legaltech?
It is not the best strategy to wait until it is the right time to adopt the technology. You may never feel it is the right time. You just need to make the decision. Here’s how Sharan Kaur commented on this matter:
“If you keep waiting for the right moment, it will probably never come. At some point, you’ve just got to decide that you want to move ahead with technology. Don’t worry about whether it’s the right time. Assess your needs, and start working on that basis”.
It is also important to keep in mind that any kind of digital transformation is risky to some extent. To minimize the risk, you need to thoroughly understand your starting point. What technology are you using right now? What word processors do your attorneys prefer? What goals do you want to achieve with legaltech? These and many more questions will help you make the next steps towards choosing the right software.
- What are the biggest challenges in legaltech adoption?
All speakers were unanimous in their opinion that one of the biggest challenges is managing the change. First of all, it is hard to get buy-in from key players to enforce the change among the teams. And without this enforcement, the change is not likely to happen, because people will simply not understand why they need to modify their workflow, and, consequently, resist the modification.
So, for your legaltech purchase to not be worthless, you need to make sure that everyone is using the new tool. This is quite hard. And to make it happen, you need to prepare well. As mentioned before, analyzing your current gaps and growth zones is a great way to avoid purchasing technology that is not relevant for your organization.
It is also crucial to involve your team in the process from the very beginning. You should ask their opinion, define their pain points, and prepare them for the change to get their support at the final phase.
- Things to consider before adopting a legaltech solution
Our speakers have distinguished four key points to pay attention to when evaluating a legaltech tool:
- Pricing. You need to understand how you are supposed to pay for the tool. This can be by users, by documents, monthly, or yearly.
- Access. You also need to know how you are going to access the tool. It could be cloud-based, or an on-premise component. It could operate in the form of an app or as an add-in for your browser or text editor.
- Security. You also want to know if your tool is secure. Is it compliant with privacy laws, does it store your data, etc?
- Support. You need to understand whether the vendor will help you with the implementation of the tool. The level of support also determines whether you will have to spend additional money. For instance, if the vendor doesn’t provide training for the employees, you will have to handle the staff education yourself. Furthermore, you need to know who to email if something stops working after the implementation stage.
An important note: you should rush neither the stage of evaluation nor the process of implementation. The more thorough you are during these phases, the more likely you are to succeed with the legaltech adoption at your firm.
- How can you get the necessary information when preparing for legaltech adoption?
As can be seen from the previous point, you need to find and analyze a ton of information about the software and legaltech overall before deciding on what tool to choose. But where can you get all the data?
The first piece of advice our speakers gave here is to start by googling it. You might want to dedicate some time to research. Start to browse for legaltech blogs and software listing platforms, trying to spot user reviews and case studies.
Secondly, you might want to ask for help from other people. There are several ways to do this for free. You can start by searching for legaltech experts on LinkedIn or Twitter. Besides getting some useful information from their blogs, you can simply reach out to them and ask some questions. Don’t hesitate to approach several people, because hearing diverse opinions may help you make the right choice. If you are a member of a bar association, you could also ask for the legal advisor’s help, which is usually provided for free.
Thirdly, you could consider hiring a legaltech consultant. This person would help you pick up the right software for your firm based on your niche, size, and the overall conditions you’re operating in. They would also relieve you from hours of research and tons of hesitations. As Jennifer Ellis wisely noted, it also makes sense from the workload perspective. Delegating work is always the right thing to do in light of the mental health issues lawyers are often struggling with.
“Hiring someone to help you will alleviate your need to go and do research at night when you maybe should be spending time with your spouse or your children or just resting.”
- How to prepare for a demo call and what questions to ask a provider
The one thing to consider before the demo is what people are going to attend the demo from your side. It is a good idea to invite several key stakeholders, as well as other people that are going to be involved in the implementation process. It would also be great to have an end-user at the demo so that they could ask some practical questions regarding the tool and decide whether the software is suitable for their needs at all.
It is also recommended to have two demos with one provider: the first one being an initial overview of the tool and the second being an in-depth demonstration of how the tool works.
Before scheduling a demo, figure out if it is worth your time. If there is not enough information on the provider’s website, then you should ask for it in the email. If they refuse to provide any information except that on the demo, this could be a red flag saying that the call could be a waste of your time.
In terms of questions to ask during the demo, you should ask about the tool’s functionality, compatibility with your current work environment, access to the information, reporting compatibilities, and everything else that could be important for you.
Colin Levy shared a great tip on how to make the demo more productive:
“I would suggest engaging in a transparent discussion with a vendor about what you are seeking, so they could better tailor to what you’re trying to find out.”
- How to define the success criteria for legaltech implementation
The success criteria for your case depend on your particular goals in the first place. If you were striving to boost efficiency with the tool, you should pay attention to the time saved, if you were expecting to save some money, you need to calculate the expenditures.
But the most important thing is to define the success criteria beforehand. You need to track the time your team is spending on certain tasks to compare it with how long they work on the same tasks after the automation. You need to count the money you are allocating on certain activities to compare it with the costs after the software adoption. Overall, measuring success is always about comparing the “before” and “after”.
You should also keep in mind that not every change happens immediately. Sometimes it can take weeks or months for things to improve. It can also be helpful to talk with the vendor and ask them what they are expecting you to achieve, and how long it is going to take from their point of view.
That’s it! See you at Loio’s next webinar on September 16! There you will learn how to use tech solutions like Loio to draft and review legal agreements faster.