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In-house focus at the Legal Geek Conference—key takeaways

This year’s annual Legal Geek Conference, which took place in October, attracted over 2,000 people from over 40 countries—doubling in size on 2017’s event. The aim—to bring together legal tech startups and the wider legal community—to champion and accelerate innovation in the legal market space.

Overarching themes throughout the day focused on moving the needle forward on the adoption of innovative technology within the industry, and the importance of evidencing its impact on improving outcomes for clients.


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At this year’s conference, Legal Geek introduced an in-house stage—in a bid to acknowledge the innovation taking place in this segment of the market. A key takeaway which emerged, from an in-house perspective, centred on the investment of new, innovative technology, and why lawyers should not focus on the tech solution, but to instead identify the real business problem to solve.

They should be looking for the pain points within the business—and speak and listen to colleagues to understand the real problems. The necessity for this approach was broadly underpinned by the all too common occurrence of failed technology rollouts; the term ‘shelfware’ was used to describe the many instances where tools that have been tried and now sit on the shelf unused.

Though, when it becomes appropriate to invest in a tech solution to remediate an existing problem, in-house lawyers often have to jump through lots of hoops to justify why any budget should be allocated to the legal department. Speakers at the conference consistently highlighted the importance of building a water-tight business case for the new technology, which focuses on cost, efficiency and productivity.

It’s vital to ensure that the proposed technology adds value to the business, not just to the legal team. Reach out to parts of the business that may not have a particularly high opinion of Legal (such as Finance or Procurement) and find out how the technology can be used to help them.

Overall, there was an emphasis to make sure the technology is ‘iPhone-level easy’, otherwise it will not be adopted by the business. Remember: people already have too many passwords. The tech must be preferable to sending an email, making a call or turning up at a lawyer’s desk.

To read the other key takeaways from the Legal Geek Conference for in-house lawyers, visit Thomson Reuters Practical Law In-house Blog.

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