LegalTech is more than just technology
LegalTech (sometimes referred to as ‘LawTech’) is not just a technology – after all it is the case that anyone can install software although this does not make it useful in itself.
Any Digital Transformation project requires a significant amount of listening in order to actually identify which processes work, which don’t and where things can be improved.
A culture of Continuous Improvement needs to be engendered across an organisation, otherwise IT Projects can become ‘White Elephant’ projects that cost a lot of money but are never adopted/used.
Red Hat Consulting see this all the time – organisations draft in excellent staff and technology partners to deploy something, which is neither needed or used. It’s an expensive way to learn what your firm needs most – listening and running workshops with stakeholders and end-users is much more cost effective.
Taking due care through Project Management can also bring issues to the fore early on and can be structured in a way that allows you to identify early-win and ‘Moonshot’ goals that a piece of LegalTech may eventually deliver.
It’s about productivity – not shiny toys, and it is important to remember this through the planning and implementation periods.
Cost is always a concern which is why it is important to make the most of Consultants and current users of LegalTech to learn about the solution and if it fits. A demo can be useful but you should never be afraid to ask to speak to a law firm directly if you’re curious about either what they use or what lessons they learned from their adoption.
Automation comes after streamlining processes
Like a Master Swordsman you need to know how to swing your sword, when to swing it and engineer-out wasted movement. It is not dissimilar from adopting LegalTech – build a process, trial the process, and refine it. Refine it again and again until you have a process that has flex but requires as little time and money as possible.
Capture the resources it takes to do the task once – including emissions – and calculate what this costs. This is important, because once you scale there is often no turning back and a poorly designed process can be no end pain for the firm.
Once you have a process that you can say is sufficiently scalable you can then choose a platform to deliver it through; you can deliver bespoke systems through leading platforms such as Red Hat OpenShift, or one that a vendor will host on your behalf.
Automation comes in many forms but often there is a human element to it – it is incredibly rare to have a requirement that is automated end-to-end including self-remediation. The system needs to enable a ‘stop, drop and roll’ system to attend to customer complaints or technical issues – often caused following software updates.
Automating LegalTech without a ‘Point In Time’ analysis function is very risky – if a human can’t tell what is causing an issue in any given moment it can once again compound costs and lose you valuable clients to boot.
Never build a black-box system where oversight over the tool is lost – it is only a tool, no matter how complex. LegalTech is about enabling your team, not hiding from them.
A human must have stewardship – or control – to stop any part of your LegalTech ‘Assembly Line’ for safety and compliance. If you are curious developing your own unique platform you can watch the below video by Red Hat on their Middleware solution.