Legal transformation is no longer a goal or a looming trend – it is a commercial imperative. Legal departments must embrace change, formulate a plan, and action it, fast, in order to control their future.
In May 2023, the global legal community gathered in Las Vegas for the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium’s (CLOC) annual meeting. Unlike its physical location, CLOC is a fertile place where ideas are developed, strategies shared, and potential solutions are unpacked. Industry leaders collaborate. Curiosity is rife, plans are ignited.
But when the lights go down and we return to the office, what can be done to effect real legal transformation? Some ideas generated at CLOC have been consolidated here, along with insights and market trends.
Here are four key pillars for you to embrace and help create change:
1. Generative AI
Generative AI (GenAI) is expected to bring real transformation to the legal industry. You must face it head on, experiment with it, use it and adapt to its current form, while at the same time preparing for the iterations and exponential improvements that will likely follow.
As most assess the impact of GenAI, there is some hesitancy in the market for buying legal technology - a ‘wait and see’ approach. A better strategy may be to focus on fixing internal processes and getting documents and organizational knowledge in order now, enhancing current processes and know-how while GenAI continues to improve and any pitfalls are addressed. New skills are vital; prompt engineering must be mastered. For GCs, questions surrounding privacy, security, ethics, and IP concerns should be top of mind.
2. Techstack: The market
The market is still growing, although is bordering on being overrun with CLM solutions. Any current digital solution will need to adapt to GenAI over time to survive. Assessing legal tech has become more challenging of late, and vendors can be vague on GenAI capability for only so long.
Legal departments should focus on leveraging their existing techstacks. Through a process of strategy and road-mapping, they should determine if existing and planned legal tech will become stranded by the recent developments in GenAI.
3. Techstack: People and process
Legal departments need clear guidance to decide between expert systems and GenAI. Outside counsel management tools still need better data and insights on spend (an easy win), while the savings from reducing this spend can be used to fund other investments. On pricing, as outside counsel begin to use GenAI in client delivery, the billable hours will become redundant and pricing models may shift to fixed fee or effective fee arrangements. System integration and UX should be front of mind for legal departments, together with a new form of change management that reflects the seismic impacts of GenAI.
4. Enterprise technology
Enterprise technology is rapidly merging with legal tech, transforming the financial, security, and integration discussions within organizations.
For legal departments which are open to repurposing enterprise tech, the immediate focus is how to better utilize what you already have. Begin with a strategy and a desired end state. Consider whether you have internal development teams to assist with pilot programs. If not, find out where you can bring in outside support. Be realistic about the pros and cons of onboarding as opposed to upfront investment in design and build.
Where to begin?
Most legal departments are in the early stages of transformation and the use of legal tech. This results in transformation immaturity and a lack of insights and data, which are crucial for optimal decision-making. There are key questions to address: where should a legal department begin on the journey? How can a legal team imagine what good looks like, and how can it get there? The immediate focus for your legal department should be in seeking to understand where you are now, to facilitate mapping for the future.
Data and metrics underpin legal transformation and are some of the keys to unlocking transformation. Data allows teams to make data-driven decisions and to create maturity frameworks which help teams assess where they are on the transformation journey. Data is critical to demonstrate the value of legal, workload, spend, and ROI on initiatives, and for building the business case for investment.
However, most legal departments struggle with incomplete or unreliable data, and there is discernible hesitancy in this area with teams overburdened by overreporting obligations or the collection of data that isn’t eventually used.
Simple data strategies can be created through identifying outcomes and strategic goals, and then mapping to the data required. There are possible quick wins, through leveraging existing tools and datasets and pre-configuring new tools to help capture the data wanted. Legal departments should become focused on developing a plan to gather data now, and to consider what data and metrics to capture later.
KPMG Law can help you with your transformation. KPMG Law professionals can walk with you through the key challenges, wherever you are currently placed on the maturity pathway. There is so much more to transformation than ideas and conversations. They can help you get there, together.
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