Lawyers and technology: what's changed over the past year?

Richard Mabey, 10 September 2021

We asked 80 in-house lawyers and legal operations teams about their relationship with tech in our 2021 Tech GC report. What do the findings show us? And what does legal look for in a tech solution?

This is an excerpt from our 2021 Tech GC report, which explores the latest insights from legal leaders - covering everything from career development to the tech stack they use every day.

Lawyers ❤️ Word ... but Google Docs is catching up fast

We asked our community of legal leaders about the tech they use to agree contracts, and the results were unsurprising in some ways - and pleasantly surprising in others.

2021-tech-gc-report-legal-techWhat do the legal leaders at Wise, Yoast and Mintos look for in a tech solution?
Find out in the 2021 Tech GC report - click on the image above
☝️

68 per cent of our respondents said they use Word to agree contracts. This is unsurprising, for several reasons:

  • Lawyers can still be hesitant - often for good reasons - to adopt new technologies. Everyone is familiar with Word, and every lawyer has used the platform every day of their career. Lawyers feel comfortable working in the tools they’ve been using all this time; Word is very good software for writing and editing documents, and moving away from it is challenging, even if there are new options with advanced functionality

  • There’s a gap in understanding between lawyers and vendors. Lawyers that have tried to adopt new technologies may have found the process of choosing a solution complicated and daunting, with a surfeit of vendors matched only by an onslaught of jargon and empty promises

  • Lawyers have had negative experiences with tech in the past. From buying a platform that doesn’t do what lawyers expected, to discovering that the solution is gathering dust as no-one else in the business uses it, getting burned by these experiences makes it all the more challenging to embrace new technology in the future

However, 35 per cent of respondents said they use GDocs to agree contracts. This is higher than we anticipated, and suggests that adoption of browser native contract formats might be slow, but more and more lawyers are realising the value of using collaborative software to agree and manage contracts; especially in light of the number of stakeholders affected in the business by the contract process.

Why aren’t lawyers adopting legal tech? 🤔

Despite the strong adoption of legal technology in certain verticals, the broader picture is more mixed, as we discovered from the findings in our report.

2021-tech-gc-report-stat-2

One of the trends our survey highlighted was that contracts technology is on the rise - 34 per cent of respondents said they had implemented a contracts platform over the past year, which suggests lawyers are starting to see the value in a more dynamic, scalable solution for legal documents.

However, it seems that legal tech solutions take far too long to implement; a concerning 63 per cent said that implementation of the last legal technology they adopted took anywhere from one to more than six months.

This is worrying when you consider the nature of a scaleup; the high-growth environment means that teams may go from choosing a solution to implementing in days, whereas larger corporations may take weeks or even months. Having to take longer than a month to implement a solution can be a problem, as it leads to lost momentum and risks the project failing entirely.

So what can tech vendors do better? 🤗

The good news is that 63 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with their decision to buy and implement legal tech. The majority found value in the legal tech solution they chose, but those that weren’t satisfied cited poor UX, and misalignment - the vendor couldn’t do everything they claimed.

Our interviews suggested that for implementation to be successful, the focus should be on creating a non-disruptive workflow that enables customers as quickly as possible. At a high-growth scaleup, where leadership teams want to see immediate results, this fast turnaround is ideal.

At Juro, our mission is to help the world agree more, and this is an essential aim for contracts platforms trying to sell to lawyers. For all tech vendors, creating a product with the end-user in mind is a must; this ensures that the solution is not only accessible to lawyers, but also to the wider business.

Download the 2021 Tech GC report for more insights on legal careers, technology, and the challenges in-house lawyers face everyday. 

Topics: Contract magic

Download the guide