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The Future of Lawyers: Why Legal Teams Should Embrace the Digital Age

, , , | December 11, 2019 | By | 2 min read

Give it a few years, and you may not recognize your legal team thanks to new advances in digital technology. Tech isn’t just changing our tools; it’s changing the way we think about the nature of work. Every part of the hierarchy and organizational structure of the workplace will be impacted, and that includes the future of lawyers. And it’s already started.

New tech can be tricky for legal teams, yes, but innovation in legal services is creating tremendous opportunities. As pivotal support to C-suite executives, GCs can use these changes to the advantage of the organization and the future of legal services. Here’s what to keep in mind.

Tech is Changing the Future of the Legal Profession (That’s a Good Thing)

Artificial intelligence is on the hype cycle for killing off whole industries, and legal is right in that line of fire. (There’s a reason why “artificial intelligence law” is searched nearly 2,000 times a month)! But for forward-thinking General Counsels, innovation in legal services can mean good news – even opportunity. 

Advancement in tech has created a world in which smart machines can take over tasks humans aren’t good at. And we don’t mean artificial intelligence replacing lawyers. We’re talking about the rote, repetitive tasks stealing so much time from your week. In legal, the automated tasks – boilerplate language, parsing legalese, searching for legal precedent, keeping up with ever-changing regulations – can all be handled by AI.

Once you and your legal team are covered on that front, you can stop worrying so much about the minutiae. Then, you’re able to move to higher-order tasks such as revamping your contract management process for more efficiency, or unifying departments for cohesive messaging to clients. Think problem-solving, innovating, and brainstorming. You’re free to handle the innovative aspects of law and craft plans to grow and protect the organization, instead of dealing in mundane details.

You trade a slower pace for greater efficiency and fewer human legal errors. It’s a win.

Tech is Changing Traditional Organization

One arch-nemesis of the legal profession is a silo-heavy organizational structure. Sometimes team members from other departments might be a little skittish around your legal team–maybe you notice they clam up around you for fear of doing “the wrong thing.” Still, though, you need to make sure your legal team has a clear line of communication across departments.

Technology is changing the fabric of work structure, from remote work to automation, and that can be scary. As we abandon waterfall management styles or find our CEOs barefoot in their offices, it can be tough to figure out where to fit in when legal is a highly traditional department.

The good news is that with innovation in legal tech and services comes a breakdown of silos. Departments are communicating better thanks to Agile management or cross-functional departments. Communication is key. AI is helping departments keep notified, on top of change, and ready to pivot with new data. 

Legal benefits from this tech because first, legal has full support with mundane tasks, and second, that time is better spent crafting an interdepartmental agreement for traditional legal responsibilities – messaging, for example, or contract agreements. Once silos go, it’s easier to get everyone on board.

You trade knowing your place in the system for better communication and fewer silos.

Tech is Changing Legal Software…Again 

Think about legal software ten years ago. If you were using any, it required full days of training. It wasn’t compatible with other programs. It was only as good as its users and certainly effective as long as everyone was actually using it.

Software is now truly smart. These days, it’s more of an extension of your team. It’s taking over specific tasks, yes, but it’s allowing legal teams to get into the core of business operations with fewer surprises.

With AI, contract management gets easier, for example. Legal teams have fully digitized records, and AI can parse confusing legalese and flag for potential compliance pitfalls. It’s easier to integrate with programs you’re already using.

People expect legal software to be as easy as the software they use for personal use, meaning fewer barriers to adoption. You’re looking for signatures, agreements, and interdepartmental support, and now your software gets that done.

You trade legacy systems for software that works. 

The Future of Lawyers in the Digital Age

The future of legal services looks bright, with greater communication and fewer silos overall. In the digital age, legal teams can focus on higher-order tasks without missing the details. There’s a lot of upheaval happening, but for general counsels willing to change with the times, the reward is worth it.

Innovation in legal services doesn’t have to wait. Contact us to find out how our contract management software can support your legal team and solve your contract management challenges.