Having launched its legal operations health check in April, Melbourne-headquartered legal tech provider Xakia reports that in-house counsel on five continents have now completed the online assessment, with their responses providing a quantitative look at the real state of legal operations in departments of all sizes. Spoiler alert, you may not be surprised to learn that pain points include document management systems, knowledge management tools, albeit a large number still don’t have a DMS.
The Wish List
What are legal departments scouting?
– Matter management tools. While adoption rates were under 20% for all department sizes, matter management is on the radar for 73% of teams of two to five lawyers; 50% of teams of six to 10 lawyers; 48% of teams of 11 to 50 lawyers; and 57% of teams with 50 lawyers or more.
– Litigation management and e-discovery tools. More than 40% of large departments employ litigation-related legal tech, but implementation is low among small and medium teams. That may be temporary; these tools are being evaluated or developed by 73% of teams of two to five lawyers; 65% of teams of six to 10 lawyers; and 79% of teams of 11 to 50 lawyers.
– Intellectual property management. This is attractive for larger teams; 74% of teams with 11 to 50 lawyers feel the need or are exploring options; 57% of teams with 50 or more lawyers are exploring options or have a solution in development.
– Contract automation tools. While use of contract automation tools currently tops out at 18% across all teams, 57% of large departments are either exploring options or developing a solution; another 14% say development is well underway.
Large departments voiced discontent with their existing document management and knowledge management tools; 43% said their current systems don’t meet their needs, and another 14% admitted to not using these tools well. Only 14% said their department used document management and knowledge management tools “moderately well” or better. (Perhaps this is solace for the 63% of small departments that said they do not have any document management system.)
Meanwhile, 42% of large departments use workflow automation and “self-help” tools for client requests, but two-thirds of those said their existing tools don’t meet their needs or aren’t being used effectively. Given the potential for time savings that these tools can bring to simple, low-strategic-value work, it’s worth taking the time to get them right.
Technology Roadmap: What’s the Plan?
When it comes to a technology roadmap – a purposeful plan for in-house legal tech – there’s a clear divide between small and large legal teams. Unsurprising to anyone who knows the in-house market well, no departments of five lawyers or fewer said they had a technology roadmap; 71% of law departments with more than 50 lawyers said they have one in place. A smattering of midsize departments have roadmaps – that includes a third of departments of six to 10 lawyers, and 11% of 11 to 50 lawyers.
Small departments may catch up soon, however; 64% said they recognise the value of a roadmap, and 18% are either exploring options or actively developing one.
Legal teams of all sizes fall down when it comes to adjusting the technology roadmap as the company and the technology itself evolves: only 28% of large law departments said they perform continuous technology evaluations at least “moderately well”; that drops to 9% for small teams (possibly because they don’t have a roadmap in the first place).
About the Legal Operations Health Check
It’s not too late to take the Legal Operations Health Check
What’s very cool is that you will be benchmarked against other departments anonymously: