Is your in-house legal team looking to improve efficiency and productivity – so they can spend less time on admin and more time on high-value work?
Technology plays an increasingly important role in helping in-house legal teams optimise their time and resources. The transformation of working practices over recent years, with the continued trend for remote working, means IT tools are more important than ever for communication, administration, data management and knowledge sharing at work. In addition, legal teams require specific legal tech software to manage and automate everything from spend management and billing to matter management, reporting and administration.
Fast-growing legal tech market
A recent survey by Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) found that automating legal processes and implementing new technology remains a high priority for more than half of firms surveyed.
To meet this demand, there has been huge growth in the legal technology market, as specialist vendors emerge to offer the solutions needed by the sector. In 2019, the legal tech market generated US$17.32bn in revenue worldwide. This is expected to grow to US$25.17bn by 2025 – an annual growth rate of more than 6%.
This growth has been bolstered by new graduates entering the profession who have grown up with technology, and by technology experts identifying opportunities in the legal services market. This has resulted in a proliferation of legal tech solutions, in an industry that has traditionally been conservative in its adoption of new technology, according to Statista.
Exploring the global tech vendor landscape
Today, in-house legal teams face an array of vendors to choose from when selecting legal technology solutions. These include major players, such as US-based Onit, a leading provider of workflow and AI platforms. More than 2,800 corporate legal departments worldwide rely on Onit and its family of companies every day. In 2021, Onit acquired BusyLamp, extending its reach into Europe and creating one of the world’s biggest enterprise legal management companies.
Together, Onit and its legal operations management subsidiaries BusyLamp and SimpleLegal processed $8.3 billion in legal invoices last year and have a shared history of more than 600 implementations worldwide. Onit has further legal tech subsidiaries, including Axdraft, Bodhala and SecureDocs.
Other players in the market include Brightflag, an Ireland-based legal operations software vendor, Thomson Reuters, which offers Legal Tracker software for e-billing, matter management and performance analytics, and Wolters Kluwer, providing enterprise legal management.
If you want to dig deeper, take a look at this list of 25 top legal tech companies, compiled by TechRound.
Your legal tech vendor checklist
With so much choice, how should in-house legal teams go about selecting the right technology vendor for their needs? To help you, we’ve compiled a checklist of key considerations:
1. Does the technology meet data security requirements?
The data handled by legal teams is too sensitive to take any risks. You need to be confident the technology you choose meets every security requirement of your IT department. Look for solutions that offer data security assurances, such as banking-grade encryption, single-jurisdiction hosting and compliance with regulatory standards, such as ISO 27001 and GDPR.
2. Does the tech vendor meet country-specific requirements?
Define your requirements by thinking through your daily work and identifying what’s missing. How can technology help? Ask vendors how their technology can address your specific challenges. For example, can the technology meet country-specific requirements in Europe, such as taxation and invoicing requirements?
3. What level of customer support is on offer?
Does the vendor have a professional customer service team? Will you be assigned a dedicated customer success manager? Does the vendor have dedicated European support capabilities? How many languages are supported? Do they have the resources to provide the support you need?
4. Is the vendor trusted by clients and independent commentators?
Check out testimonials from clients, read case studies and ask to speak to clients. Find out if the vendor and its solutions are trusted and valued. Look for independent approvals or verifications from respected organisations, such as Hyperion Global Partners. Does the vendor have a network of trusted partners to support and champion its solutions?
5. Does the technology integrate with everyday IT systems?
We all use an array of software and IT systems in our work to support efficient collaboration and communication. You need to find legal technology that integrates fully with common software from Microsoft, Google and others. Choose interoperable legal technology tools that meet you where you work.
6. Can you request a free demo?
Ask all shortlisted vendors for a demonstration of their software and its application to a practical example. Before committing to new software, make sure you take it for a test drive. Most vendors offer a free trial to test features, benefits and usability.
Meet locally in Europe
If you’re struggling to choose a vendor, you can meet many of the leading legal tech providers at conferences held across Europe throughout the year. These provide a great opportunity to find out more about the legal tech landscape in your region, meet some of the people you could work with, ask questions and sample the technology. Take a look at some of the conferences coming up this year.