In the recent webinar, Cutting through the hype of in-house legal tech, Seng Chan, general counsel of Nisbets, and Rob MacAdam, director of legal solutions, at HighQ sat down together to have a conversation about legal technology, the hype within the market and how corporate legal teams can extract true value from technology investments.

In the not too distant past, it was much more difficult to discover what technology was available and even harder to understand exactly how to apply it to an in-house legal department. GCs had to attend large legal conferences in order to see the newest in legal tech. Because of the lack of easy access to technology specific to their legal needs, in-house legal teams often built custom solutions using programs like Excel and Word that were designed for more traditional business use cases.

We’ve come a long way since then. Now, GCs are constantly approached by legal tech vendors who promise that they have the perfect solution to prepare every lawyer for the future of law. From contract management and litigation management to spend management and more, if you listen to the hype, you’d think there isn’t a single problem that technology can’t solve. Unfortunately, through trial and error, many corporate legal teams have discovered that it’s just not that easy.

While there is no doubt that legal technology can bring big benefits to corporate legal teams, not all technologies are equal. So how do you sift through all the noise of legal technology trends and shift the conversation from hype to reality?

During the webinar, Seng and Rob offered insight and advice from their years of experience using legal technology to improve legal operations within corporate legal teams.

Begin with the basics: What problem are you trying to solve?

It can be easy to get sucked into a good sales pitch. When a legal tech vendor approaches you with what seems to be the perfect solution to a specific problem, it’s tempting to begin believing that it will solve everything.

Don’t buy in too quickly. Take a step back and evaluate the business’s needs. Does the technology solve a real problem facing the department? Does that problem represent the biggest opportunity for change and improvement in legal operations or would budget be better spent elsewhere?

Don’t invest in a solution that only improves IP management if your team’s legal project management tool is outdated and broken. Prioritise and invest in technology that can solve your biggest legal operations challenges.

Invest in the journey

The best way to make sure you don’t get sucked into the hype is to explore the legal tech market on your own, outside of a high-pressure sales pitch. Invest time in the journey and dive into how the different technologies work, how they can be applied to your current processes and how they can evolve your processes into the future.

Not only is knowledge of technology crucial, but it’s also important to develop a deep understanding of legal department operations so you can ask vendors specific questions about how the technology would work within your business. This knowledge can help ensure you don’t end up with expensive technology that doesn’t do what you need it to.

When it comes to legal technology, it pays to be curious. If you aren't interested in how your existing systems and processes work, it’s going to be a struggle to find a solution that really works for you.

Network and ask around

Corporate legal departments are now beginning to lead the charge in technology adoption, so you’re not alone. Spend time networking with your peers and asking around about how they are solving challenges with technology. You’re sure to hear raves and rants from real-life use cases that will help you avoid pitfalls and speed success.

For more insight and advice about how to cut through the legal tech hype, watch the full webinar.