There is consistent pressure on legal departments to do more with less, and as a result, there is a need to have more oversight of the tools being created and utilised for day-to-day legal work for businesses, according to two legal professionals.
Speaking recently on The Lawyers Weekly Show, SmartWomen Connect founder Fiona Craig and Marist180 non-executive director Claire Bibby argued that it’s on the shoulders of corporate counsel to lead from a tech perspective, noting that some in-house teams are already starting to lead the way.
“I think in-house counsel are best placed to be developing the tools for the corporate counsel market, because we’re the ones that understand what the day-to-day life of an in-house lawyer looks like,” Ms Bibby explained.
“It’s not something that a tech person can develop for us, and to a certain extent it’s not something that private practice can develop, because they haven’t walked the walk that we’ve walked, nor have they talked the talk.”
Such responsibility is necessary, Ms Craig added, because it forces in-house teams to look at how they are delivering services to clients.
“Ultimately, without in-house clients, they don’t have a sustainable practice, and so they’re always going to be driven by what the client wants,” she said.
Doing what the client wants often involves a consistent pressure to do more with less in-house, she added, especially in light of the number of new legal tech start-ups in recent memory.
“Information [from that realm] is coming in at the in-house counsel market at 100 miles an hour, and if you’re not staying up with that data and looking at these tools, then you’re going to be left behind,” Ms Bibby noted.
“And, your internal clients are also going to be aware of the expansion in the legal tech and AI space, and they’ll be asking about it.”
There is then a responsibility for law firms working with in-house teams to ensure they are, correspondingly, getting closer to their clients, Ms Craig suggested.
“One of the issues in law firms is it’s a very blinkered approach, with a sort of mono culture,” she said.
“So I think law firms need to realise that they’ve got to get much closer to the clients to work out what they’re doing and see what they’re doing on a day-to-day basis, because until you’re in that [in-house] environment and you’ve got experience within that environment, you don’t really know what the client needs and expects.”
To hear more of Lawyers Weekly’s conversation with Claire Bibby and Fiona Craig, click on the podcast link below: