Hit Netflix TV series, Stranger Things, is an affectionate love letter to the 1980s. Part of the show’s appeal is glimpsing the iconic tech of the time — VCRs, Walkmans, Arcades, and BASIC computer programing running shadowy government institutions.
In an Upside Down world, the 1980s retro tech still survives today in certain parts of a sometimes-frightening dimension: the legal market. One Microsoft study found that more than 86% of lawyers said they still used a pen and paper to complete legal work. Scanners, printers, and even Post-Its remain common for some lawyers.
Enter 2018 Legal Technology
Our free upcoming In-House Counsel’s Legal Tech Buyer’s Guide 2018 — now available for download — brings LegalTech up to date for 2018. It does not wallow in the 80s. This is one of its key messages in the guide, which looks at the leading technology used by law departments to deliver faster, strategic, and more accurate legal services.
Interviews with dozens of legal technology companies and leading in-house teams reveal how the law has moved away from the time of Airwolf and Breakfast Club, to the era of AI and blockchain. The fully updated and revised guide features 16 categories of legal technology, from contract drafting, eDiscovery, and digital signature, to prediction and litigation technology. It reveals, with practical examples from companies such as Google, McDonald’s, AIG, and NetApp, how technology is changing how law departments perform almost every daily legal task.
1980s Horror Stories that led to 2018 LegalTech
These technologies were unsurprisingly created after horrific legal experiences and processes which drove lawyers crazy.
Michael Sander, founder of Docket Alarm (bought by Fastcase in 2017) found the legal research tools used at his New York law firm too expensive and inefficient. He told Wired: “Twice a day, we had a paralegal go to the court’s website, enter a case number, see if there was anything new, and repeat that nine times.”
2018 alternatives: The guide contains law department reviews of legal research software unimaginable in the 1980s, including Practical Law, Casetext, Ross Intelligence, Fastcase, new offerings from Westlaw and LexisNexis, Google Scholar, Clear and Bloomberg Points of Law. Professor Richard Susskind comments that legal searches will be affected by “emerging systems.” He says that “if properly primed, (these searches) are now able, in terms of precision and recall, to outperform paralegals and junior lawyers when reviewing and categorizing large bodies of documents.”
Nicole Shanahan, founder and CEO of ClearAccessIP, told Legal Talk Network: “Leaving the paper file behind was unthinkable, now we are digitizing and even looking at AI in terms of making legal practice more efficient, and address a changing culture in legal services. I was working in-house RPX Corporation (the Rational Patent Exchange) I opened up the Nortel portfolio which was huge 4000 assets, all sitting in the data room and needed to be reviewed. It would have taken years to get through all 4000.”
2018 alternatives: Today’s IP management software provides automation that supports the tracking of patents, trademarks, copyrights, IP, licensing, reporting, and analytics. Software reviewed in the guide, being used by the world’s leading law departments includes CompuMark, Clear Access IP, TurboPatent, TrademarkNow, WebTMS, Inteum, Anaqua, Trakligh, Hazel Trade Secret Asset Management, ALT Legal, and Patent Vector.
Noory Bechor, LawGeex co-founder and CEO, spent six years as an attorney at Israel’s largest law firm which led him to found the contract review automation software. He recently told Inc.com: “I had a growing frustration with how inefficient the legal world is. It’s very repetitive and mundane, and there was no real technology that helps lawyers do their jobs better and more efficiently.” In his early professional days as a paralegal, Bechor spent much of his time reviewing documents. “Once you’ve seen hundreds of examples of a specific contract type,” he says, “the concepts keep repeating themselves. I said, if this is so repetitive, it can be automated.”
2018 alternatives: The guide includes GC reviews of the burgeoning world of contract review, and leading players including LawGeex, LegalSifter, Beagle, and Legal Robot. In February, LawGeex revealed that its AI bested top US lawyers for the first time in accurately spotting risks in everyday business contracts.
Contract Due Diligence
Laurie Brasner, General Counsel at Seal, was an assistant general counsel at DirecTV Latin America from 2003 to 2005, in charge of a monumental legal task to help the company emerge from bankruptcy amidst the sale of its parent company. The effort involved finding the company’s financing agreements — often in a what-filing-cabinet-are-they-in sense — and studying what provisions might be affected by the ongoing Chapter 11 proceedings. “It gave me the experience to say there has got to be a better way of doing what we’re doing,” Brasner said. Today’s contract due diligence software is a vast and growing field.
2018 alternatives: Today, contract due diligence and extraction can save 20–90% of time spent in uncovering relevant information from contracts. The guide includes growing companies using AI to tackle these tasks, including Kira, Seal and Leverton. Using this software, law departments can accelerate and improve the accuracy of contract data extraction and regulatory compliance, particularly in light of ever-changing compliance rules globally, from IFRS, Brexit, or Europe’s new General Data Protection regulation.
In their major report on the digital signature software market, global consultancy Forrester provides insights from an operations executive from a major hotel group, justifying their switch from paper to digital. The executive points out: “It was simply an embarrassment, that a five-star hotel would have such crappy old processes.”
once you sign your 534th document in the month of April alone the "old way", you realize what a good and much-needed product @docusign really is.
— naveen.com 🇺🇸 (@naveen) April 19, 2018
Alex Butterworth, Senior Legal Counsel at McDonald’s Australia says: “People previously talked about spending an hour a day on average walking around the office collecting signatures. People in the legal team ended up being stuck with that work. With DocuSign and electronic signing, we no longer are spending huge amounts of money on mailing large packages of documents to franchisees for our restaurants. It is now uploaded and they get an automatic email and can sign there and then. This has reduced signing from days to three hours.”
2018 alternatives: The guide has law department reviews and details of solutions including Adobe Sign, DocuSign, eSign Live, HelloSign, and many more. Digital signature saves time printing, scanning, emailing, and/or sending documents by post or courier. In addition to time saved, you’ll also have an audit trail that will help if a need arises to discuss the signatures in court.
These are just some of the applications transforming the $600 billion global legal services market.
To paraphrase one eighties movie, in 2018 with legal tech now in the ascendancy, nobody puts Legal in the corner.
Get your Definitive Guide: No more looking Back to the Past
- The legal tech market size and growth in the past year
- The definitive step-by-step guide on how to buy legal tech from Lucy Bassli, former Assistant General Counsel at Microsoft
- First person accounts of legal tech buying by leading legal department leaders at the world’s top companies, including Facebook, Google, NetApp, McDonald’s, AIG, Twitter and many more
- 130+ top technology solutions for legal departments
- Explanations of an in-house legal tech buying journey, including barriers to adoption, establishing and monitoring KPIs, and more