10 legal tech implementation tips for in-house counsel

The unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic have left businesses and their legal teams eager for ways to reduce inefficiencies and streamline processes.  That's where legal tech comes in.

Identifying processes requiring improvement is challenging but necessary to ensure that the introduction of your new legal technology is successful in aligning your in-house legal projects with business priorities.

Consideration of the available choices and the implementation can be daunting. In this article, you'll discover practical tips for legal tech's smooth and effective implementation.

1. The importance of legal tech to general counsel

As in-house counsel, you’re acutely aware of the importance of having the right legal tech at your fingertips to assist in your work, manage risk, and ensure compliance. There’s more pressure than ever on in-house lawyers to provide not only efficient legal services but also to understand and support business needs.

That’s where legal tech comes in: providing the digitisation of matter management, data tracking, and the prioritisation of the issues that are of the greatest importance to the business and its stakeholders.

2. How to choose the right legal tech provider

Legal tech provides the tools that facilitate the modernisation of legal work, with matter management and the provision of a broad ecosystem of support, enabling the consistent and effective delivery of legal services. A legal tech provider experienced in working with organisations like yours is the obvious choice. As the legal department is often located in offices across the globe, quick and smooth communication and matter management is crucial.

3. Examine your legal tech requirements

Reflect upon what you need in detail.

  • What is your use case, and how will you interact with the system?
  • What specific tools are you looking to actually use?
  • What improvements will these make to your team and working methods? 
  • For document automation work, have you considered what documents and aspects you’d like to be automated, and how this automation will relate to matter management?
  • Do you need to understand data in relation to where your requests originate from, team capacity, time scales, and work distribution issues?

Requirements are often broad, encompassing everything from document management, e-billing, and document creation - all the way through to integration with e-signature solutions. Establishing this information is an initial step.

4. Consider the business and its structure when implementing legal tech

The best legal tech providers have themselves worked in law, possessing an in-depth understanding of legal document automation, matter management, and issues crucial to customer success. They will understand that the technology’s fit must be designed not only for the context and structure of the business concerned but also for the size of the user base. As an example, in one company alone, there could be one hundred people working in the legal group across multiple practice areas, in numerous regions. The legal tech must be able to account for this complexity.

5. Determine the pain points legal tech is meant to overcome

From the procurement process to ensuring that the design is absolutely right, to global implementation of the legal tech, achieved over several phases, a provider who has done this many times before is always the best choice. They will start work from the pain points, on which all stakeholders must agree. For example, do your pain points concern the systemisation of know-how, for example, workflow automation, or documentation management? Identifying your organisation's pain points is critical to creating tech solutions.

6. Involve the entire team in legal tech implementation

It is often assistants and paralegals who will be doing much of the groundwork on these systems. Speak to the team members who are compiling those reports and gain their insights. Work out what will make their lives better, and work from there.  As they are the ones generating reports and inputting data into the systems, it would be wise to listen to them.

7. Getting the baseline design right: the creation of a detailed template

Once the actual system build is in progress, the design process serves as a detailed template. Especially in a global multiphase rollout, it may only be possible to look at some initial regions and business units for the first phase, and then other locations and business areas will be added at a later date. As such, the template is significant in ensuring focus.

8. Legal tech user acceptance testing: giving feedback

In the final user acceptance testing phase, users test the system to achieve quality assurance and provide feedback. This allows providers to agilely tweak the system, ensuring it works for the legal team. From a global perspective, it enables the ironing out of any inconsistencies and accounts for any local differences in processes. This pragmatic approach results in a well-structured solution that allows, over time, for scalability and additional reporting and workflows.

9. The legal tech launch is not the finish line

The launch of the final product is not the end of the process. It marks the start of training, ensuring that advanced support exists for seamless adoption.

Also remember than your department will never be “done” with a legal tech implementation. You’ll likely start with a pilot program or a small use-case. Once that has proved its worth, it will be time to extend that program to a larger area, or expand to a similar use-case.

Always be thinking about your legal tech roadmap, and what problem you can solve next. 

10. A streamlined legal platform to propel the business forward

As in-house counsel, you add value to the business by being in the room when crucial conversations are taking place – not by reproducing an NDA for the hundredth time. By implementing legal tech, you’re free to truly add value to the business with legal expertise while partnering properly and strategically.

By following this guidance, your next implementation of legal tech will be smoothly facilitated. The implementation of an integrated platform for all legal operations such as HighQ will please all stakeholders and contribute to driving your business forward, enabling you to take your next steps forward with ease.

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