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Law firms need to peek behind the hype around legal tech and learn of concrete ways in which they can implement new technology to derive maximum value.

Another month goes by in the world of legal tech, and the shifts, the hype, and the self‐reflection on a thriving industry comes thick and fast. I have picked out some recent highlights and thoughts on how we all strive to make knowledge work in the legal sector.

The latest iteration of Gartner’s Legal tech and compliance products for 2021 hype cycle has been spotted in the wild. The annual refresh has generated a flurry of interpretation – among both tech-minded legal types and legal-minded tech types.

The hype cycle provides valuable visibility into the kinds of things occupying the minds of innovators in law firms and legal teams. My only wish is that it would focus more on the problems being faced by these ranks rather than implementation strategies. We should be honest about the challenges we struggle with, as an industry, in achieving change and getting new processes and technologies on board. I believe a good way to progress that goal is to be clear on what is delivered rather than how it is delivered.

Briefing has a fascinating cover story on law‐firm office design and how rethinks and refits are shaping the way we do and will work. One space that may not be required is the server room. Many firms initiated or completed cloud migration programmes making the bold – and possibly right – move towards a modern document management infrastructure with reduced on‐premises hardware requirements. I think it will be an exciting time of stick or twist in the months ahead.

Tech Nation’s LawTechUK R&D gap analysis has called for further investment in R&D as tech adoption increases. Anecdotally, I have been told that the technology conversation has reached the top of the law‐firm agenda. People’s minds are getting to the right place – now, I would like to see more rigour around implementing tech, in particular around business outcomes, value delivered for lawyers and legal teams, concrete adoption strategies.

This article first appeared in LPM

About the author

Jack Shepherd