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Summer has entirely given way to autumn – the days are shorter and the legal technology think pieces longer. So, grab a cup of your favourite hot, spiced beverage and let’s explore what the industry has to say this month, as we all make efforts to make knowledge work in the legal sector.

Legal tech investments increase

For those who enjoy an in-depth examination into the state of our industry, Thomson Reuters Institute has just released their latest mammoth report. The Legal Department Operations (LDO) Index 2021, examines the changing landscape in the corporate legal field and the role of legal tech to transform the way legal knowledge work is delivered.

Findings suggest a maturity and appreciation of legal tech’s promise – 82% of legal departments now identify their spend management sophistication as proactive, optimised, or predictive.

But what needs further exploration is whether the 52% of legal departments that increased their use of legal technology in the past year are using a techy, sticky plaster over existing process problems, or truly integrating and adapting how people deliver legal work.

Balancing adoption with compliance

Law firms and corporate legal departments typically invest in legal technology to overcome barriers; they don’t want a long run up to on-boarding, exhaustive training and new rules to learn. In a recent discussion hosted by my iManage colleague Aaron Rangel, he spoke to customers about the push and pull of compliance when expecting employees to use a document management system. To adapt a quote in the session from Ken Jones, chief technologist at Tanenbaum Keale LLP, I “strongly encourage” rather than “mandate” you to view the discussion.

Legal tech thrives on people and process – diversity is essential

As any legal-technology enthusiast will tell you, the tech is only as good as the people and processes that wrap around it. People are important and diversity is essential. Why? Because diverse, collaborative teams are far more likely to be better at change and innovation.  This is why change is still needed across the demographics, to diversify those who work in law. A recent American Bar Association report – neatly summarised by – demonstrates the inequality of Covid-19’s impacts on the legal profession.

London law firms collaborate with future talent

And so the future people in tech will drive change, adoption and the role of technology in making knowledge work. Several of London’s leading law firms have united to offer graduate training in legal operations as part of an intensive, four-week programme – focussing on innovation, automation, process design and legal project management. A fantastic initiative and I can’t wait to see the rise of tech-minded legal professionals.


This article first appeared in LPM

About the author

Jenny Hotchin

Jenny is a Legal Practice Lead for iManage whose passion is around helping firms and organizations deliver legal services more effectively using technology. She focuses on finding opportunities with iManage RAVN AI to solve problems in practices and in-house legal teams. Prior to joining the company, Jenny was an associate and group innovation manager for Pinsent Masons.