Lucy Bassli, Chief Legal Strategist, LawGeex
There is no easy way to make an important purchase such as legal tech products.
Legal tech is spread across almost every aspect of the in-house legal department’s functions. From managing law firm engagements or analyzing documents to sharing information or reviewing invoices, there is automation for just about every touch point.
So how do you figure out what your department will benefit from most?
Here are five surefire secrets For buying legal technology, taken from the In-House Counsel’s Legal Tech Buyer’s Guide 2018 available for free download.
Consider the biggest pain points in your department and ask if technology is the right solution. Consider whether there are process changes that can be just as or significantly impactful with a much lower cost (if any) to the department. Next, consider if the right people are involved in the process and doing the work in the most efficient way without automation. Once you’ve confirmed that technology is the next step, consider how difficult or easy it will be to implement the new solution. Some teams are more open to technology than others. Some leaders have more incentive to automate. Select a process to automate that will have minimal resistance. Technology implementations are challenging enough without dealing with internal struggles and hurdles to adoption. Finally, start with one focused implementation. Going for the complete overhaul is hard, but small identifiable wins lay a great foundation.
2. Establish the current state
Spend time mapping out the current state of people, processes, and systems that are already in place and related to the technology solution you are seeking. Have a clear understanding of the process before starting the technology selection. It is healthy to perform a detailed mapping exercise since it is guaranteed to identify inefficiencies and quick gains. Define the impact to all stakeholders and how you will need to communicate with them. Know who is most sensitive to the automation and whose roles will be most impacted.
3. Define goals and requirements
Once the current state is mapped out and all stakeholders are identified, define the success measure for the implementation and goals for the new solution. These high-level markers will keep everyone focused and prevent scope creep. Then define your business and technical requirements for the solution. What must the technology do? What must it integrate with? Are there some nice-to-haves but not deal breakers? Also, consider future integrations and expansion of the functionality of the system.
4. Pick the solution
Now you are ready for the selection process. Work with someone experienced in procuring technology. Follow standard protocol but include the attorneys who will be impacted. They are the domain experts but will need guidance from operations or procurement to understand the impacts of the goals they have for this system. It is easy to dream big, but a reality check is always useful.
5. Plan, plan, plan
Plan for what can go wrong and for disappointments along the way. Define a solid communications plan with all stakeholders, right-sizing the amount and type of information shared about the implementation. With input from the tech solutions provider, develop a training plan and materials. Make sure you have access to people with IT skills who can provide guidance and support. And of course, have a plan B.
This is an edited extract from the In-House Counsel’s Legal Tech Buyer’s Guide 2018. Free download here.
Lucy Bassli is Chief Legal Strategist at LawGeex. In her previous role as Microsoft’s Assistant General Counsel, Legal Operations, and Contracting, she oversaw the company’s global enterprise-wide contracting solution. Lucy is recognized across the global legal industry for her success in legal change management and passionate vision for the transformation of the legal industry through enhanced processes, diversity, and technology. Lucy has also been named as an Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Value Champion and to The National Law Journal’s roster of Outstanding Women Lawyers. Lucy is also a regular speaker at legal industry and tech events.