Why the Era of "Lawyer-intuitive" Tech is Nigh

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After completely overhauling work processes and systems during the global pandemic, law firms and corporate legal teams alike are now rightfully assessing what they put in place. That means reviewing the impact these new technologies had in the short term, and seeing if they can benefit the business in the long term by demonstrating clear, measurable gains. 

To truly harness the impact of technology for long term success and benefit from an ROI perspective, legal teams need to ensure that what they have in place is being adopted, embraced, and leveraged. 

Technology’s role as a help, not a hindrance 

When firms are looking at ways to ensure they’ll get the most value out of their technology investment, it’s important to remember that lawyers are users too. 

Consumers of all ages and generations want to use technology that meets their exact needs. Ever-demanding audiences expect ease of use, self-service, speed, and efficiency.

Why else is the iPhone so popular? 

Humans have little tolerance for systems that aren’t intuitive enough to grasp straight away. In 2018, a PwC report revealed 65% of C-suite executives often reported being frustrated by technology at work. Ironically, technology is also one of the factors in making us more impatient, according to a survey from BIC — creating a perfect storm of disappointment due to mismatched expectations. 

However, technology will inevitably become even more entrenched in the legal processes. For example, of the requirement to use technology-assisted review (TAR) and artificial intelligence (AI) as part of the Disclosure Pilot Programme in the UK. You’re currently required to use TAR to support the process if you have data sets with over 50,000 documents or be prepared to have a good reason for why you choose not to. 

Adding fuel to the fire, according to research by Hays Talent Solutions, over half of UK companies feel staff are under-skilled for digital transformation. 

Ask not what you can do for technology – ask what your technology can do for you

The narrative up until now has been around whether litigators will get to a point where they can keep up with technology. But this isn’t what we should be aiming for, and turning everyone into a technical expert isn’t always the answer. 

Cast your mind back to the coffee machine in the office — there’s a reason why it gives you the drink options on buttons, rather than being a complicated "barista pro" model. Anyone should be able to use it immediately and go about their day.   

Litigators should be helped, not hindered by AI and automation, and we must remember that it should make the task at hand easier, not more complicated. 

Technology that’s a barrier rather than a bridge to results simply isn’t worth a litigator’s precious time — whether it’s billable by the hour or not.  

To ensure that your technology investment will reap long-term success and ROI, it needs to be agile enough to ensure business continuity, and ultimately, it needs to be "lawyer-intuitive," so lawyers have the confidence (and patience) to use it. 

Litigators need technology designed and crafted by other litigators, so it’s been set up to be immediately understandable and, crucially, usable. Find out how to make your technology work for you — talk to DISCO.

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Stephen Dearing

Stephen Dearing is General Manager on DISCO's EMEA team. He has extensive experience of building, developing and coaching high-performing businesses and has held several international senior leadership and advisory positions within the software, enterprise, financial technology and data industries.