Top 4 objections to migrating from legacy legal tech

Alex Aceves | April 5, 2023 | Articles

Even with more in-house legal departments investing in legal software, many corporate teams are still stuck using outdated, clunky legacy systems. Why? Because they can’t get general counsel approval to bring on a new platform.

It’s a GC’s job to manage risk—and making a big change with brand-new technology can definitely feel risky. There’s a lot to consider, from the financial cost to the resources needed for implementation and training.

To get GCs on board with shutting down legacy legal tech, you need to first understand why they’re hesitant to make the switch. Then, you can come to the table with facts that disprove those objections and clearly illustrate the benefits of bringing on a new platform.

Use these 4 common objections to investing in new legal tech to build your counter-arguments. The goal is to demonstrate the significant return on investment that modern legal software will bring to the team and the overall business.

1. “New legal software is too expensive.”

According to Bloomberg Law, the cost of legal tech is the top metric considered when deciding the value of a legal management platform. And GCs’ focus on cost control will only increase with a global economic recession on the horizon.

To prevent GCs from getting sticker shock, clearly outline how the initial investment will help them save money in the long run. From enhanced spend visibility to automatically enforcing timekeeper rates, comprehensive legal tech makes it easier to reach cost-saving targets.

Check out our savings calculator to give your GC a clear estimate of how much your team could save with new legal tech.

And as the saying goes, time is money—automation and artificial intelligence that eliminate manual processes helps legal ops save more of it. For example, the American Trucking and Transportation Company saved 55 hours a month just by automatically enforcing their billing guidelines.

Also, consider mentioning the 2021 EY Law Survey, where GCs listed a “greater use of technology” as the best way to generate “significant or very significant cost savings opportunities.” By embracing this perspective that many of their peers already have, GCs can better help in-house legal prove itself as a modern business partner.

2. “We’ve been using this software for years, and it works fine.”

It’s not uncommon for a corporate legal department to keep the same legacy legal tech for 10 years or longer. That’s tons of legal data to untangle and correctly re-upload into a new system. Additionally, team members have grown accustomed to the platform’s “quirks” and rely on learned processes that will need to be scrapped when a new system comes on.

So, your GC may believe sticking with the software everyone knows is the path of least resistance. But you can emphasize how clinging to a legacy solution comes with three greater (and more costly) risks:

1. Stunted department progress. Legacy tech limits your department’s ability to modernize and deliver greater business value.

For instance, if your current platform can only track a certain number of legal data analytics, you’re restricted in which key areas you can assess and report on. This static data collection impacts the quality and quantity of strategic business intelligence legal ops can provide. As you mature and scale, you need to be able to continuously adjust which data points you’re tracking.

Contrast the capabilities of your current platform with your proposed new legal management tool to show how it’ll help corporate legal level up.

2. Poor cybersecurity. Outdated legacy tech is highly vulnerable to data breaches and data compliance issues. From a lack of robust security updates to vulnerable “spaghetti” source coding, these weaknesses jeopardize the business’s financial health and reputation.

Share this finding with your GC: In 2022, the average international cost of a data breach was a staggering $4.35 million. That’s much, much more than your company will pay to upgrade to more secure legal technology.

3. Team burnout. Despite legal operations being listed in the 2022 ACC CLO Survey as handling the “department’s most strategic initiative,” there’s been a decrease in the average number of legal ops professionals per team since 2020.

If understaffed teams are forced to rely on manual software that takes up more time out of their busy schedules, this increases their frustration with work—especially if they feel their requests for a more helpful platform are being ignored. And when employees burn out, employers pay a steep price. Burnout costs companies $120 billion to $190 billion annually, according to the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Highlight the different ways new legal software will relieve strain on legal ops members, from automating invoice reviews and data uploading to offering pre-built templates for quick legal reporting.

3. “Implementation and training will take too much time and too many resources.”

Most professionals, including GCs, have experienced a poorly executed rollout of a new tool or process. This can happen for many reasons, from a vague change management plan to internal miscommunications or a lack of training materials.

Being involved in an ineffective implementation process can make GCs hesitant to tackle another. To quell their concerns, lay out a clear plan for who will handle what during the implementation alongside a corresponding timeline.

Your plan should include the role of internal partners, such as IT, and your external legal tech vendor. It’s important to show your GC the additional value a vendor brings beyond just providing the new software. Emphasize how your tech provider understands your team’s unique needs and will help you reach your strategic business goals.

When evaluating prospective legal tech vendors, remember that they offer different levels of support and training. To avoid causing roadblocks down the line, be sure to ask questions on the following areas to make sure you’ll get the help your team needs:

  • The vendor’s experience with migrating teams from legacy tools
  • Their standard process and timeline for implementation and migration
  • Who is involved with leading the implementation and migration
  • What resources they’ll need on your end (e.g., IT assistance, access to the legacy tool)
  • What user onboarding training and customer support they offer

Then, once you find a tech vendor who fits the bill, you can come to the table prepared to share this detailed information with your GCs. This outside partnership will be vital in ensuring there’s a smooth, timely transition that doesn’t significantly disrupt day-to-day workflows.

4. “Our vendors are already comfortable using our current legal tech.”

Maintaining positive working relationships with outside counsel is essential. Strong partnerships support greater productivity and a willingness from vendors to employ measures like alternative fee arrangements. GCs may worry that introducing unfamiliar legal software could strain these relationships and make vendors hesitant to use a new e-billing tool.

To quell these concerns, speak directly to your outside counsel before implementing a new legal spend management platform. Ask your law firms and alternative legal service providers what platforms they’re familiar with and what they like and dislike about your current software. Use this information to find legal tech that will meet their needs as well as your team’s. Emphasize these mutually beneficial attributes to your GC.

Additionally, ask your prospective legal tech vendor about the type of training and support they offer outside counsel.

Learn why 100% of Pacific Seafood’s vendors were happy to migrate to their upgraded legal e-billing solution.

Switching from legacy legal tech supports legal ops’ evolution

Legacy software with limited capabilities holds legal ops teams back from being able to grow and reach their full potential. The sooner you can convince your GC of this, the sooner your department can take on more strategic responsibilities and contribute deeper value to the overall business.

Get more tips on building your case and executing a seamless legal tech rollout

Download the free guide