Now that the dust has settled on yet another great Legalweek New York and we’ve had a chance to reflect on all we saw and absorbed, we wanted to share some of what our team took away from the event. It’s always a hectic schedule and it’s hard to see everything, but here are a few of our top takeaways from the first LegalTech of the new decade:
Legal Diversity & Inclusion: Mission-Critical for Corporations & Law Firms
In recent years, diversity and inclusion has moved from the sidelines of the practice of law, to a mission-critical priority. Driven largely by corporations who have sought for their leadership teams and legal departments to more accurately reflect their overall employee population, formalized diversity & inclusion initiatives have spread to a variety of legal providers, from law firms and technology partners to new law companies and the people and teams that handle legal work for in-house departments.
Another aspect of diversity that was especially interesting at LegalTech this year was that diversity initiatives are not just focused on gender, ethnicity, or LBGTQ status; the legal industry seeks talent with a diverse professional background. Engineering, project management, IT, international business, marketing, journalism, social work and any number of other professional backgrounds are highly valuable as law takes its next steps into an era of technology-enabled, people-based services. A diverse skill set is highly sought after, and getting a wider variety of people and professions into the legal field continues to be both a focus and challenge.
The Commitment to Better Contract Management is Real
Ten years ago, the number of companies at Legaltech offering platforms outside of the eDiscovery realm was minimal, to say the least. In 2020, the exhibitor hall was lined with vendors offering some sort of new tech that tackles any number of legal tasks – and contract management platforms stood out.
We see it on a daily basis: companies have a lot of risk exposure in their contracts, and in the past haven’t been able to standardize or centralize their key provisions and data in general. Those times are changing with advancements in technology and the processes we bring to the table, many of them born and battle-tested on the eDiscovery side. Technology designed specifically for contracts management is now much more mature and robust, and companies as a whole are getting more diligent and proficient in their approaches and the people involved in their contracts processes. It becomes a much more inviting task to tackle when companies can dramatically lower their risk profiles and build significant efficiencies and consistencies into what are business-critical functions.
For larger corporations, we’re talking about thousands and thousands of documents that can contain tens of millions of dollars in value… and are highly sensitive and proprietary. It’s essential to know what’s in the paper, who is involved, where there are opportunities for negotiation, to make all documents as uniform as they can be, and to be able to easily search the universe of data. That ability has arrived.
"Legal Operations Excellence" Extends Far Beyond eDiscovery
It’s clear that legal operations is now a significant practice area for legal, technology, project management, and business stakeholders. With the directive (in many cases) to touch all phases and departments of legal, legal operations professionals and teams are focused on driving quality, efficiency, and cost savings while aligning with business processes and goals. As technology platforms have begun to catch up with the people involved in operations, the horizon is bright with opportunity.
Whether it involves deploying tools that handle invoice review, contracts, M&A, due diligence, compliance, or data management, legal operations professionals now have the ability to dive deep into the world of metrics and emerge with measurable and trackable data. That data tells compelling stories at both the micro (legal matter) and macro (Board) level, and makes both legal and business decisions more straightforward. We use the term “enterprise legal solutions” to encompass much of the intersection of technology, people, and processes in these areas -- and it is a rapidly growing segment of the industry.
Legility is a legal services company providing data hosting and management, technology-enabled services, consulting, flexible legal talent, and managed review services to in-house law departments and law firms. Legility is not, and none of its affiliates are, a law firm and does not provide legal advice as part of its services and nothing contained herein should be construed as such.