LegalTech: Technology for Legal Departments
The term “legal technology” and its contraction “LegalTech” appeared in the 2000s. Originally, LegalTechs were American or British start-ups providing online legal services for law firms or individuals. Formerly used only by large groups, the software was quickly fine-tuned in line with technological developments. And now?
Today, we are able to offer genuine digital governance solutions to the Legal Departments of all sizes of companies. These digital tools are not only capable of automating a large number of processes covering all the legal aspects of business, but can also calculate and anticipate legal risks.
NOT JUST FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC
We tend to think that LegalTechs are only designed for individuals. However, they can also be used by all legal professionals and businesses. Via our collaborative legal platform DiliTrust Governance, in-house lawyers have access to a wide range of fields – corporate law, intellectual property, contract law, litigation, etc. – at a lower cost, which is invaluable if the size of the company does not justify having such experts working in-house. This solution increases synergy between the different fields, using a single database of shared information.
Like any digital technology in direct competition with the traditional sector, LegalTech is referred to as the “uberisation” of law. Participative online platforms were inspired by the Uber model, putting specialist corporate lawyers in direct contact with other, more generalist legal practitioners. All the legal fields and the relevant data are managed simultaneously. The different support services (accounts, insurance, regulations, IT, etc.) can consult legal documents, share them, edit them and file them – in other words, collaborate online in real time. This explains why more and more large and medium-sized companies are adopting these digital solutions.Traditional software publishers have also migrated towards LegalTechs.
DIGITISATION AND AUTOMATION BENEFIT IN-HOUSE LAWYERS
For an in-house lawyer, knowledge sharing is one of the major assets of LegalTech. With electronic data management, the various collaborative tools and the exchange platforms themselves, integrating a legal technological solution saves time and increases efficiency for in-house lawyers. As LegalTechs have grown, the new uses have revolutionised the role of in-house lawyers, who can now reap the full benefits of digitisation and automation.
The fields of application are wide-ranging. They include setting up new international accounting processes between different subsidiaries, or harmonising GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which applies to all companies that collect personal data in any form. In addition to effective solutions for making these legal “headaches” easier to process, legal technology can also be used to draw up a legal document from start to finish. From project stage to signature, via negotiation, the private blockchain technology used for Legal Departments enables centralised data sharing and automated processes for intermediate roles. The cost savings are immediate, plus Business Intelligence can be used to exploit the statistical data by the teams managing disputes and litigation, to improve planning in these areas.
DILITRUST AND THE BENEFITS OF CORPORATE GOVERNANCE SOLUTIONS
Although 20 years ago, LegalTech essentially dealt with corporate law information and was primarily targeted at larger companies, its missions and target public are now adaptable to a much wider audience. The solutions are no longer limited to software; they involve full SaaS collaborative platforms adaptable to all kinds of national or international companies, both SMEs and medium-sized SMIs. All the legal fields of corporate law have their own tailor-made solutions: management of authorisations and delegations, contracts, litigation, real estate, intellectual property, and so on.
DiliTrust Governance solution is the perfect example. It is primarily designed for Legal Departments, to help them automate production of their legal documents and connect their different departments. We have also integrated a legal consultation function, where employees of a group can directly ask a legal question on a dedicated private portal. Using intelligent algorithms, in-house lawyers can anticipate the risks of litigation better. This kind of LegalTech has increased practical benefits for legal departments. The procedures are automated and therefore much simpler, plus it reduces costs significantly. By freeing up Legal Departments from certain tasks, in-house lawyers can devote more time to important cases. The use of machine learning and the forecasts tracked by the algorithms also helps with pre-litigation planning and reducing lawyers’ fees.
The LegalTech phenomenon has therefore led to an inevitable change in the role of the in-house lawyer. Skills are developing towards new fields of expertise where new technologies provide tools that have considerable benefits. The role of the in-house lawyer has always been to support the major changes experienced by companies and their legal departments. Legal Tech will simply help them do this to a greater extent, with ever more effective tools.