Whether you work in a technology business or not, over the coming years all in-house lawyers will need to become much more tech-savvy. Whilst there is no need for us all to rush off and learn how to code, it is essential that we develop a good understanding of the technological infrastructure our business is dependent upon (and its inherent risks).
We also need to understand the technology our business uses for internal communications and the digital economy it will increasingly transact business within.
For some this might be a cause of concern. After all, we spent years studying law not technology. And then there are fears of disruption and displacement; that our jobs will soon be replaced by ever-more capable and intelligent computers. But rather than being fearful we should embrace the opportunity to allow technology to improve our work-life; to offload many of the labour-intensive and time-consuming processing tasks, to speedily sort through masses of data and perhaps even take the pain out of organising meetings enabling us to spend our time and legal training on more strategic, high value and interesting matters.
To better understand the technology on which your business relies consider setting up a series of meetings with your Chief Technology Officer. They will no doubt welcome the opportunity to meet you, explain the infrastructure and key suppliers and flag their own concerns. For a better understanding of the digital economy in which your business transacts, a series of meetings with your Commercial Director and finance team will no doubt be beneficial.
As for the legal department, there is so much legal tech to consider and for the busy in-house lawyer it can be overwhelming. With so many different contract management solutions not to mention new A.I contract review tools on the market it is hard to know where to start. And then there is the issue of budget. These solutions may offer fantastic solutions but the majority are aimed at large in-house teams and require a fantastic amount of money and time to implement.
For most of us the best advice is to start with small steps such as:
- Consider using collaboration tools such as Slack or Trello to reduce your internal email traffic;
- Blog readers can set up alerts so that you can stay informed about developments in the law or your industry;
- Digital meeting organisers can reduce the pain of organising meetings.
Do also upskill yourself in Excel so you can better access and analyse the ever-increasing quantity of data which is coming your way.
And while we’re talking about data, have a think about e-billing and panel management solutions to enable you to take better control of your legal budget and your processes around engaging external law firms.