Legal expertise does not wait for a lawyer. Lawyers can witness technology march here and there depending on their role or scope of practice, but with a long enough timeline, tools designed to make law more effective will reach all professionals.
The State of Corporate Litigation Today, a joint study from the Association of Corporate Counsel and Everlaw, is out today and not surprisingly, legal technology has come to in-house lawyers.
Legal departments are no strangers to technology, of course, but after years of technology focused on helping firms or ALSPs successfully deliver to clients, a new technological frontier is in.
This follows the lessons of this year’s CLOC conference, where operational experts within the legal department descended on Vegas to delve into speeding up the contract management process. Legal department leadership clearly sees the value of using technology beyond deal making.
And the trend of bringing more work in-house is a big reason why in-house lawyers care so much about technology right now. The solutions they used to provide law firms happily need to get into the hands of the department’s lawyers.
However, the adoption of technology is slowly progressing in this sector.
“In one of the survey’s most surprising findings, technology capabilities ranked as the top skill for the next generation of in-house counsel,” said Blake Garcia, senior director of business intelligence at ACC. ”Large-scale adoption of legal technology has been slower than expected for a number of reasons, however, we continue to see evidence like this that legal innovation continues to gain momentum by increasing efficiency and reducing costs – impacting legal department workflows and hiring practices for years to come. “
This disconnect between a commitment to technology literacy and the slow pace of technology adoption permeates the exhibit hall at the ACC Annual Meeting.
Everything in this room seems a little lower than the CLOC meeting. Richard Cohen, Protiviti’s managing director and experienced general counsel, told me that he thinks the problem is that the leadership of the legal department in 2022 is focused on the things they do. be doing the opposite of what they do he can what did i do While CLOC membership allows deals to be done faster and more efficiently, ACC attendees are weighted to protect the company and there is more discussion about dealing with public exposure than investing in a product to transform the department. According to the report, while 85 percent may think technology is important, only 56 percent see their technology needs increasing in the next year.
But something has to give soon. In-house teams cannot continue to perform many of the functions of a traditional law firm without pulling the plug and investing in the tools firms rely on. At some point, it doesn’t cost to bring the work in if the department doesn’t have the tools to get the job done.
Research suggests that general counsel understand this… but maybe they just don’t know that the people who approve their budgets are still involved.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-creator of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him Twitter if you like law, politics, and a healthy amount of college sports news. Joe also serves as Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.