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Evaluating LegalTech? Five Considerations for Small & Large Legal Departments

October 5 2021 by Jodie Baker

Scouting new legal technology solutions for your Legal Department?


You are not alone. According to KPMG’s 2021 
Global Legal Department Benchmarking Survey, corporate legal teams have several 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 matter management – 36 percent; and 
  • 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 tech falls on those of us who are not necessarily fluent in bits and bytes. 

It is easy to become overwhelmed with tech talk, but whether your team is large or small, there are five major things you should consider when vetting software solutions: 

  1. 1. Budget and Scalability

Two-thirds of Legal Departments do not have formal budgets for legal tech 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 tech solutions with clear and straightforward pricing, such as a monthly fee per person.  

In addition, look for 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 legal tech – or need help making the business case? Xakia’s LegalTech ROI Calculator can help. 

  1. 2. On-Premises vs. Cloud Hosting

Gone are the days a Legal Department needs a costly or unwieldy on-premises solution that requires internal resources for installation, maintenance, and hosting. 

Cloud-based platforms 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. 

  1. 3. Implementation

Legal tech 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. 

  1. 4. Ease of Use

Recall that KPMG reports that 96 percent of Legal Department team members are not techies. Any legal tech solution must be user-friendly for everyone in your team. Take into account not only the range of positions who will use the software (paralegal, junior lawyer, general counsel, and so forth) but also their relative tech-savviness (or lack thereof).  

To ensure your software is intuitive, look for solutions built specifically for Legal Department workflows. Also, think outside the Legal Department 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? 

  1. 5. Global Operations

Just as your legal tech should accommodate various positions and experience levels, it also should support language needs across your organization. Legal Departments with geographically dispersed teams – or business unit – 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 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 

If you are in the market for legal tech, whether it is modern matter management or another solution, it’s important to think about the big picture. Before spending the time and money on technology, take the time to assess your Legal Department’s goals and priorities; this will help you ensure you have the right resources working together for the right reasons.

 

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