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Evaluating LegalTech? Five Considerations for Small & Large Legal Departments
Your Legal Department is small today – but it may not be in five years. Here are our top 5 tips when evaluating legal technology tools for your in-house legal team.
Scouting for new legal technology solutions for your in-house legal department?
You're not alone. According to KPMG’s 2021 Global Legal Department Benchmarking Survey, corporate legal teams have several legal software options on their shopping lists, among them:
- Document automation – planned or under consideration by 54 percent of Legal Departments
- Data analytics – 45 percent
- Contract life cycle management – 40 percent
- Modern legal matter management – 36 percent
- Budget tools – 28 percent
The challenge: KPMG also reports that just 4 percent of Legal Department staff identify as technology professionals. This means the task of identifying the right legal technology falls on those of us who are not necessarily fluent in bits and bytes.
It's easy to become overwhelmed with all this LegalTech talk, but whether your in-house legal team is large or small, there are five major things you should consider when vetting in-house legal software solutions for your team.
1. Budget and scalability
Two-thirds of Legal Departments do not have formal budgets for LegalTech applications. According to the KPMG benchmarking report. This did not vary significantly depending on team size – 63 percent of large teams do not have tech budgets, and 68 percent of small teams do not.
When you are working without a clear budget in place, transparent pricing becomes paramount. Look for legal technology solutions with clear and straightforward pricing, such as a monthly fee per person.
In addition, look for legal software as a service that allows you to easily add or remove seats throughout the year, so you avoid hassles or surprise charges if your Legal Department grows, uses temporary lawyers or staff, and so forth.
Curious about the ROI of your LegalTech – or need help making the business case? Xakia’s LegalTech ROI Calculator can help.
2. On-premises vs cloud hosting
Gone are the days an in-house Legal Department needs a costly or unwieldy on-premises solution that requires internal resources for installation, maintenance, and hosting.
Cloud based legal software can cater to small teams of one to 1,000 with ease of scalability. Look for cloud based solutions with enterprise-grade security features for both flexibility and peace of mind.
LegalTech software vendors should be able to support both small and large teams through the onboarding process, from installation to training.
For small Legal Departments, setup is often most expeditious and efficient when vendors offer some “DIY” resources, such as step-by-step user guides and how-to videos.
Some large Legal Departments also may be able to get started themselves, but for those with more complex data or implementation requirements, the vendor should provide hands-on assistance, such as a dedicated Customer Success Manager who can develop a bespoke game plan.
4. Ease of use
Recall that KPMG reports that 96 percent of Legal Department team members are not techies. Any LegalTech solution must be user-friendly for everyone in your team. Take into account not only the range of positions who will use the legal software (paralegal, junior lawyer, general counsel, and so forth) but also their relative tech-savviness (or lack thereof).
To ensure your in house legal software is intuitive, look for solutions built specifically for Legal Department workflows. Also, think outside the legal team and consider the perspective of stakeholders who interact with the software or its outputs. Does Legal Intake offer a helpful and simple interface for business clients? Are out-of-the-box reports clear for the C-suite – and can they be easily adjusted for custom requests?
5. Global operations
Just as your in house legal software should accommodate various positions and experience levels, it also should support language needs across your organization. Legal teams with geographically dispersed teams – or business units – must have tools that support the full host of relevant languages, so you can effectively collaborate with a colleague in Tokyo or correspond with a business client in Paris.
In addition to your local language, look for legal management software that empowers you to connect with stakeholders around the globe. Among the most common languages needed: English, Japanese, Spanish, French, Danish, Dutch, and Portuguese.
One final point to consider when evaluating legal technology
If you are in the market for LegalTech, whether it's modern matter management or another matter management software for legal departments, it’s important to think about the big picture. Before spending the time and money on new legal technology, take the time to assess your in-house Legal Department’s goals and priorities; this will help you ensure you have the right resources working together for the right reasons.