There is no legal tech. There is only tech.

Laura Guenther | March 6, 2017 | Articles

Last week, we attended the EvolveLaw Tech Savvy In-House Counsel event with an incredible group of legal technology thought leaders. SimpleLegal CEO, Nathan Wenzel, gave a talk on a very thought-provoking topic: There is no legal tech. There is only tech.

I’ll give a quick recap here.

It’s All the Same

Despite all of the #LegalTech buzz, legal technology is really just “tech” that has been modified for the legal department. After hearing Nathan draw parallels between what is considered “new” legal technology and other types of technology that already exist, it is hard not to see the irony.

  • Matter management software – it is really just a CRM, like Salesforce
  • Document review capabilities – the same idea that Netflix uses to recommend movies
  • E-Discovery tools – similar to how Facebook knows where you are

The idea of leveraging technology to help streamline manual processes, report on KPIs, and understand ways to improve a department is NOT NEW.

Technology = Metrics

Every department in an organization relies heavily on technology to run their department efficiently – marketing, sales, HR, finance, etc. All of these departments have evolved with the addition of tech to their respective areas, which has ultimately changed the business conversations they are able to have. Leaders now have quantitative metrics, with data to back them up.

Nathan points out that without tech we can’t have the important business conversations that help us understand what is moving the needle. He recommends tech-less legal teams start to adopt technology sooner than later and to look to their corporate peers as a resource for how to talk about business.

Other Takeaways from the Tech Savvy In-House Legal Event

Collaboration is Key

Monica Zent from Foxwordy spoke about why collaboration for in-house legal departments can be beneficial. Not only does collaboration save time and costs, it can boost employee morale and lift employee engagement. Monica describes how collaboration works best through a combination of the following:

  • People – how are they organized, mentored, and engaged?
  • Process – how is work delegated and assigned to outside counsel?
  • Technology – what tools are being leveraged to help with productivity?

Legal is a Cost Center but Legal Ops Helps to Save Costs Through Technology and Process

The evening’s panel, moderated by Joshua Lenon, consisted of Anthony Blackburn from AdRoll, Marika Daggett from Google, and Roycee Hasuko from Salesforce. There were a myriad of topics covered, and I list my favorite takeaways here:

  • Legal operations, although a newer addition to corporate legal departments, is the key to finding ways to eliminate costs and make legal departments more efficient.
  • There is an overwhelming amount of legal technology solutions for legal operations. Be sure to figure out which fit your needs, and not the other way around.
  • CLOC is the organization for in-house legal operations professionals to help stay on top of the latest trends, network, and learn.

To stay on top of visionary legal technologies, check out other EvolveLaw events on their event page.