When speaking to law firms, one challenge related to legal tech is around how does a firm know which solution is the right fit for them – and often don’t know the right questions to ask legal tech companies. Ieuan Leigh, CEO of Validient, outlines the challenges law firms face when adopting technology, what questions they should ask, and why.
Back in 2020, we saw that law firms rushed to implement technology to deal with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and have ended up with a system where they are paying for ten features yet only needing the one.
The challenge today is similar in that with the legal technology market growing, the understanding of ‘what is the right fit for my firm?’ is becoming unclear.
Each month, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) releases a Lawtech insights document which looks at the hot topics in legal technology. As regulator of law firms in England & Wales, the SRA is often seen as a trusted source of information for law firms. It’s recent article looked to support law firms investing in legal technology and the questions they should be asking along with eight top tips.
We have created this article to look at what law firms should be asking legal tech companies, and a brief summary of the SRA’s article.
The challenges of adopting legal technology
The latest statistics show that a staggering 35% of law firms don’t use any legal technology companies to help them with their day-to-day processes. Often though, the reasons for not implementing technology varies firm to firm.
Below are some challenges that we have heard from law firms who are looking to invest in legal technology and some ways to overcome:
‘The legal technology landscape is too overwhelming when looking for vendors’
Possible solution: Reach out to trusted people in your network to see the systems they use and whether they would recommend or not. You can also call a legal technology advisor and ask them for guidance. Especially at Validient, we will always help as much as we can in your transformation.
‘We don’t have the capacity in the firm to look at technology’
Possible solution: This one is a difficult issue to overcome especially as everyone is extremely busy.
The best solution here is to block off a few hours as a whole team, map out the process and see where the challenge is, and if it’s enough of a challenge that needs to be solved, allocate time to solve it.
If tech can’t help, perhaps there’s another solution!
‘We don’t see enough value to actually invest’
Possible solution: Similar to the above point, you need to set time to really understand your challenges and whether any legal tech companies can solve your pain.
If the time investment of transitioning systems and training employees outweighs the challenge of re-keying data over a set time period, perhaps the technology isn’t worth it. However, if implementation is quick and easy, then the value can be there. But it all depends on how your firm defines ‘value’.
‘Tighter AML regulations are putting more pressure on compliance’
Possible solution: Spark open and honest discussions between compliance and wider teams to explore the challenges and what type of platform would help. Using a platform like Validient that increases transparency and provides greater overview of compliance can reduce the risk of fines and standardise processes.
Top tips from the SRA
- Talk to your employees about what they will need from legal tech solutions
- Ask the vendor to explain how data on their tech is kept safe from cyber attacks
- Ask yourself: will the software integrate well with existing legal technology?
- Consider the support the legal tech vendor is offering
- Make a list of essentials and a list of what you are willing to sacrifice
- Find out who has responsibility for the data – the vendor or you?
- Consider the costs of parting ways with a vendor
- Take part in industry discussions to see what other law firms are doing
Top tips from Validient
- Start with process mapping to see where the challenge truly lies
- Utilise legal tech companies that you trust to advise you on your journey
- Join and talk to groups like the UKLTA, LegalGeek, and LawtechUK
- Accept that no question is a silly question to legal tech companies – we want to help!
- Don’t be disheartened by ‘innovation’ that you see in bigger firms if you are smaller – innovation is personal to each firm and there are no set criteria
- Ensure that your firm defines how you measure ‘value’ from a certain system (time saved, money saved, implantation time, data safety, etc)
Real world questions to ask legal tech companies
- How can I be sure that our data is protected?
- How long is data stored and where is this stored?
- What happens if I need to access or delete data?
- Why would we implement this solution over our current process?
- What support and training will we get – and is there a charge for this?
- How can we get out of this contract if needed?
Here at Validient, we have been in the legal technology world for years and have a great understanding of how the client onboarding process works and how best to advise to comply with AML regulation.
Although we are not an advisory company, we would never turn away a conversation with a law firm who just needs some guidance. Our aim is to simplify the client onboarding journey whilst maintaining high regulatory standards. If you are looking to improve your client experience and compliance management, we’re more than happy to start a conversation to help understand the challenges you are experiencing and determine if our platform would be a good fit for your needs.