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How do you expect investment in technology for the legal team to change over the next 12 months?

Posted by Gene Turner on 13-May-2024 08:35:52

I'm looking forward to the 2024 ILANZ conference on 22 and 23 May. It's a great opportunity to get a feel for the issues and priorities of the New Zealand in-house legal community, as well as to connect with others who are working with, and providing solutions to, in-house lawyers.

This year, I'll be particularly interested in gauging in-house lawyers' feelings about technology and their plans to invest in it. Even as recently as September 2022, Deloitte's research in their In-house Insights Report “Trusted navigators in complex and challenging environments” prepared in response to a September 2022 survey of New Zealand's in-house legal community, showed that more than half of in-house teams were planning no change in their investment in technology. I found that surprising at the time.

August 2023's Thomson Reuters research was a bit more positive, indicating that 60% of in-house counsel professionals expected to increase investment in technology either moderately or significantly, but that still left 28% staying the same.

I expect interest will have increased significantly over the past year.

While there is undoubtedly a greater level of cost constraint applying to many organisations, the work that needs to be done – potentially by fewer people - hasn't reduced, so we see legal teams showing more interest in how they can be more productive. With so many technology options now available on an affordable basis, it doesn't make sense to have highly paid lawyers operating less effectively than they could be when their work is so important.

As well as some really exciting legal AI solutions that are just launching into the New Zealand market (and which will be on display at ILANZ) there's also a lot that can be done with the tools legal teams already have available in their Microsoft suite (SharePoint, PowerAutomate, PowerApps, PowerBI, Planner etc). Microsoft CoPilot (Microsoft's AI) on top of these will add a lot of value for not much extra cost. Much of what lawyers do and spend a lot of time on is not that special or difficult and these tools can make a big difference to things that currently take a lot of time and effort.

As we don't have any particular technology platform of our own to spruik, and we have a wide range of technologies and partners we work with to design and support solutions, we always look forward to talking to lawyers about their problems and priorities. It's usually possible to quickly identify at least a few different options for where quick improvements can be made at a cost that makes sense. Last Thursday in around an hour or so of chatting with a local government General Counsel, we were able to cover Local Government Official Information Act request processes, contract management and matter management and identify a number of practical options that can be explored further using M365, Cognito Forms and potentially adding in CoPilot. Once you know what is possible, and can see examples of what others are already doing, one conversation tends to quickly lead into others.

If you'll be at ILANZ and want to know what technology options would best suit you and your priorities, come by for a chat. Otherwise, get in touch and we can set up a video call at a time that suits and see how much we can cover.

Topics: Document Automation, Legal Technology, In-House Legal, Document Assembly, Self-Service Legal Automation, Compliance, Legal Automation, Matter Management, Legal Operations, Contract Management

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