Implementing Legal Technology: Think Big, Start small, Act now

Implementing Legal Technology: Think Big, Start small, Act now

Last month saw the publication of the first-ever fully machine generated law review article in the peer reviewed journal “Law, Technology and Humans”        (https://lthj.qut.edu.au/article/view/2089). The article was written by GPT-3, a state-of-the-art AI and explains why humans will always be better lawyers, drivers, CEO’s, presidents and law professors than artificial intelligence and robots can ever be. The article was published with no edits apart from the title and headings. In the article, GPT-3 argues that machines lack creativity, intuition and empathy and will thus never be in a position to replace humans.

The article is far from perfect. It provides inaccurate information about “Friends” (the sitcom), lacks citations and shows gender bias. But it is impressive what GPT-3 achieved in just a few seconds and the article demonstrates the potential for machine learning tools in the legal field. At this stage, GPT-3 is not able to write fully coherent and accurate law review articles, but maybe GPT-5 or GPT-20 will be able to do so in the future. And even today, the first draft by GPT-3 can be a useful starting point.

So how do you prepare for a future where GPT-9 will write some or most of the legal opinions in your legal department? 

During our conversations with legal counsels and general counsels, we learned that lack of budget and time are among the most common challenges when it comes to buying and using legal technology. And if there is a budget and time available, they are spoilt for choice and often don’t know where to start their legaltech journey.

Tackling these challenges will be a lot easier if you start with a clear strategy and tactical plan before you think about the technological solutions you need to reach your objectives.

Strategy: Think big

Strategy is about what you do and, most importantly, about why you do it. It’s about the big story. So one of the first questions to answer will be about value. Why would you use technology? What is the added value of using technology? Will it allow you to do more with less? Or to increase the quality of your work? Or to work faster and better align your services to the business’s needs? Or maybe your goal is to empower paralegals so they can perform a larger chunk of the legal work? The answers to these questions will be different for every company, but it is crucial to agree on why you are doing something before you even think about buying technology.

The outcome of the strategic exercise will determine the direction of your journey and help you stay on track during the journey. It will also be the first step in building your business case that will allow you to obtain that budget. Finally, it will help you to determine clear KPI’s, which will allow you to evaluate whether your journey is successful or not (yet). Aligning your legal department values and KPI’s with the companywide values and KPI’s might further help you to obtain the budget. 

Tactics: Start small

Once you have a clear strategy with a mission and a vision, it is time to start thinking about tactics. This is where you break up the big strategic goals into smaller actions. To start with, you will probably look at the low hanging fruit and quick wins to build momentum.

The tactical part will in large part involve work on processes and people. Lawyers tend to have their own, very personal ways of doing things. And technology doesn’t like that. So the first step is often to standardize processes so everyone uses the same process. Once you have determined this starting point, you can think about automating the process and how technology can help you reach your goals and create more value.

The tactical plan will also involve working with people. It should be clear to everyone within the department why business is no longer as usual. It should also be clear to the leaders of the project that a technology implementation project can only work if the people actually use the technology, which means it is crucial to get buy in before you execute.

Execution: Act now

Once you have a clear view on why you want to create change and how you want to go about it, then it is time to act.

The hard work on strategy and tactics will help you determine which technological solutions will add value to your work. Often, these solutions will include document generation, workflow automation, e-signing and document management. More sophisticated solutions may include document review or RPA (robotic process automation).

The strategic and tactical exercise will also help you determine the critical functional requirements and your IT department will be able to help you with the technical requirements. You might also want to think about the integrations with other tools.

In conclusion, having a clear strategy and a tactical plan will allow you to see which solutions can add value to your legal department and will enable you to compare the different technology providers and their solutions based upon your own framework and your own requirements. This will increase the chances of a successful technology implementation.

Contacts

If you have any questions concerning the items in this newsflash, please get in touch with your usual Deloitte Legal - Lawyers contact at our office in Belgium or:

For general inquiries, please contact:

bedeloittelegal@deloitte.com, + 32 2 800 70 00

Be sure to visit us at our website: http://www.deloittelegal.be

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