For those of us living in the age of ‘do more with less,’ LegalTech promises something better than what we have right now. With investment into LegalTech breaking the $1 billion mark for the first time in 2018 and COVID-19 acting as a catalyst for adoption, the question for law firms is no longer “Do I invest in technology?” Rather, “Which product is right for our business?” Here are the five questions you should ask before investing in a new LegalTech product.
1. What is the business use case?
With increasing pressure on law firms to add value and pass on efficiency gains to clients, the obvious answer is using technology. However, there is a real risk of buying technology just for the sake of buying technology. Digital tools are only as good as how they are being used. It is necessary to:
- Thoroughly understand the problem that you are trying to solve.
- Understand how the product positively impacts on the problem.
- Develop benchmarks which you will use to measure your return on investment (ROI). You can see our take on the problems that still exist with calculating ROI here.
2. How does the software help your clients?
Technology can save you time and money, benefits which can then be passed onto clients through a less expensive service and more individual attention. Sound familiar? It should if you’ve encountered any LegalTech provider in the past 5 years. But you have to go deeper. It is useful to visualise how and when your clients will actually benefit from a new tool. How much time will it take for the speed and cost benefits to reach the client? Will the client trust the new software? What improvements are key to increased client satisfaction?
Of course, lower prices and shorter deal lengths are attractive, but we mustn’t solely focus on these benefits: speed and cost are only one part of the client satisfaction puzzle. Technology can also improve overall service. For example, empowering clients to access information without having to chase down counsel. With Legatics, every party to a transaction can enter the platform and track the progress of their deals in real time; they can upload files directly onto the platform and provide comments and approvals without picking up the phone or sending a single email – consider yourself, empowered.
3. Who are your champions?
There are some lawyers and partners who look at LegalTech and just get it. They are happy to learn about how new tools operate and are adaptable enough to incorporate new technology into their processes. These are your champions and they are the difference between a tool which looks good on the shelf and a tool which changes legacy working methods for the better.
After identifying a problem and confirming that LegalTech is the solution. it is important to appoint a team of champions as early as possible. They can help to evaluate technology prior to procurement and come into their own when the product is available for use. Legatics has found that training and supporting materials can only go so far when driving adoption. However, having a team of peers who can encourage adoption will ensure that a new product is properly considered by your firm. It reduces the risk of a tool becoming shelfware and increases the chances of adoption and all of its associated benefits.
4. Is the software compatible with your existing solutions?
Recognising how compatible a new product is with your existing solutions is pivotal to understanding how much time and effort will be needed during implementation.
If a solution doesn’t work alongside existing methods you need to ask whether adoption is possible at all. If adoption is still possible, will it take more time? In the end, LegalTech solutions should add to your existing processes but must improve overall operations. At Legatics, we have worked hard to ensure that our platform supports and improves your experience with other popular tools such as iManage, DocuSign and SSO.
5. What do your peers make of the product?
It’s a great feeling to be the first firm to plant their flag in an up-and-coming piece of LegalTech. It’s an even better feeling to invest in a piece of technology that has been tried, tested and trusted by your peers. The best insight into whether a piece of technology works is to see whether it has been procured by other firms that work on similar projects. Vendors that have a truly viable product will often have published case studies, recognisable clientele and quotes from their customers. These case studies and endorsements are helpful to gauge credibility and also to advocate for a newly procured tool internally. Don’t just take our word for it, take a look at some of our own case studies here.