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Law Departments Need to Spend More on Legal Tech, Study Finds

Dec. 3, 2018, 11:02 AM

Corporate legal departments are streamlining their work by embracing technology, but need to do more before the function is “truly transformed,” a new study has found.

These departments need to invest more in legal tech to guarantee that transformation fully takes place, according to the study from Deloitte and Oxford Economics, released Nov. 30.

Some 300 law department executives from nine countries around the world weighed in for the study.

It recognized that while investments in legal tech are needed to streamline operations, legal departments are facing increased pressure from their companies’ C-suites to do more with the same or fewer resources.

Only just over one in two respondents, 56 percent, said they believed their companies were spending enough on legal IT.

Yet three out of five respondents remained optimistic that whether or not the level of spend changes, “their legal function is ready to adopt new technology in their routine tasks.”

Legal departments have been a low priority for corporations when it comes to funding new technology, Meghann Kelley, a legal management consulting leader for Deloitte, told Bloomberg Law in an interview.

“The budgets haven’t yet caught up with the need,” said Kelley, who added that that dynamic may finally be changing.

‘Unexploited’ Data

There has been a lagging recognition that any successful adoption of legal tech involves analysis of an enterprise’s data, another Deloitte report also released Nov. 30 found.

“Legal functions now appreciate the volume of under– or unexploited data under their control, and they understand that valuable insights can only be extracted through the use of technology,” the report concluded. “Despite this recognition, the pace of adoption has been rather slow.”

The report recognized that both in-house legal departments and law firms have a wide array of choices when looking to create efficiency in their legal and operational work. These range from “‘old-school solutions” that can improve “business-as-usual processes,” to disruptive tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, which “adds value by changing the way legal services are rendered.”

Blockchain, for instance, can enable more efficient recording of transactions between parties, and assist with the design and automation of contracts, according to the report.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Skolnik in Washington at