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The conversation around legaltech includes more end users – And that’s a good thing

Stephanie Vaughan

Historically, legaltech outlets have been focused on reaching out to the IT person within a law firm rather than the end user. This is completely understandable. After all, the word “technology” is right there in the IT acronym.

However, this approach no longer makes as much sense as it once might have. There is a new generation of lawyers who are actually very interested in technology and who have grown up with tech all around them. It only stands to reason that when these lawyers come to work, they’d be interested in looking for different ways that technology could help them, the same way they would for other aspects of their life.

Here’s the rub, though: There has been a huge proliferation of legal technology in the market, especially over the last five years. The result is that many lawyers are struggling to understand the full range of what is available and how it can assist with various aspects of their day-to-day jobs.

Enter the recently launched

Having a legaltech directory with industry-specific categorizations – a directory that is not aimed at the technical teams, but at the actual lawyers and end users within the firm – will be a tremendous resource for helping lawyers identify which categories of technology they can benefit from.

Does this give lawyers license to grab whatever technology captures their fancy, doing an end-run around the IT department and disregarding all of the considerations that are required to successfully put technology into practice within a firm?

No, of course not. What it does, though, is give lawyers the framework to say: “This is what we need to be successful at our jobs.” The IT teams, in turn, can focus their efforts on technology that will give the end users the highest value and return on investment.

In this way, the legaltech directory provides a marrying of the needs of the end users and the IT department, better aligning the two groups within the firm. For successful ROI, the IT team needs engagement from the end users. The best way to get that engagement is to provide technology that provides immediate benefits. Both groups can now speak in a common language of how to achieve those benefits and deliver that ROI.

This is a clear step in the right direction for firms that are currently buying technology that’s not being adopted. When that type of “failure to launch” happens with one technology, firms think twice about investing in the next technology – which may very well be the very one that they most need – because they’re now gun-shy.

There are other clear benefits to having a directory of legaltech aimed at end users. When I think back on my time as a lawyer, I can recall many occasions when I was dragged into a tech vendor demonstration that turned out not to be relevant to my area or what I was doing.

A directory like Legaltechhub helps ensure the right people are in the room – the people who would be in a position to say whether the solution is of value or not. By browsing through the directory, end users can quickly educate themselves about the types of technologies they’re interested in or that could be useful to them, so that they know which technology they’d like to take a closer look at via a demo.

This isn’t just a boon to the law firms, of course. It benefits the technology vendors as well, because they want to make sure they’re showing their technology to people whose practices it’s really going to optimize.

As a further benefit to these vendors, having an audience with the most relevant end users provides intimate knowledge of how these lawyers work and the challenges they face. This allows the vendors to better develop solutions that solve real lawyer and knowledge worker problems and more effectively address common pain points or bottlenecks.

Put simply, when the legaltech conversation is expanded to include the end user, everyone wins: The IT team, the technology vendors, the firm as a whole, and the end users themselves. Even the firm’s clients benefit, by nature of being serviced by professionals who have the tools they need. This expanded conversation marks the beginning an exciting new chapter for legaltech and all those who it impacts.

About the author

Stephanie Vaughan

Stephanie is the Global Legal Practice Director for iManage RAVN.