Thomson Reuters and Lawyers Weekly recently partnered to investigate the technology trends within in-house legal departments. The Technology Trends Within In-house Legal Departments survey was conducted during March and April 2018 and attracted 64 useable responses from legal professionals working in in-house roles.
The results show that the proportion of Australian legal professionals working in in-house roles continues to increase, and with it, the volume of work that’s handled by in-house legal departments. In-house lawyers often don’t have access to the same technology that’s utilised by legal firms, due to limited budgets and lower perceived importance of specialised legal technology within a broader organisation. However, survey findings suggest that adoption of legal technology increases the efficiency of in-house legal teams, which should encourage organisations with dedicated legal teams to consider the investment worthwhile.
Many in-house legal professionals have knowledge of the processes and requirements for making a business case for new technology adoption within their organisation. However, more than half don’t know what budget (if any) is available for spending on technology.
In most cases the decision to purchase new technology rests outside of the legal department, and respondents reported mixed propensity to consider investment in legal technology; some organisations are receptive, while others consider spending on legal technology to be a low priority for the business.
Reluctance to spend on legal technology isn’t the only impediment to its use. While more than 60 per cent indicated that they have access to some forms of legal technology, almost half of those respondents suggested that its use is limited by poor implementation, or in some cases lack of knowledge about how to use it.
These results point to potential for improvement in the way legal technology is adopted in Australian organisations with in-house legal teams. Greater use of available technology has benefits to both in-house legal professionals, who could handle their workload more efficiently, and their employers, who could benefit from increased productivity.