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Most law departments not increasing investment in tech

New research reveals that a significant number of in-house legal teams have not ramped up their investment in and use of technology since the onset of COVID-19 and also do not have complete confidence in their ability to report on document, matter and spend management.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 08 February 2022 Corporate Counsel
Most law departments not increasing investment in tech
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The 2022 Thomson Reuters Tech and the Law survey – conducted by Momentum Intelligence in December of last year – received completed responses from 826 legal professionals, including 670 private practice lawyers and 156 in-house lawyers.

The survey explored attitudes, perceptions and priorities towards legal technology and a respondent’s organisation’s challenges and priorities for the upcoming year.

As already reported by Lawyers Weekly, private practice lawyers are prepared to leave their firms for employers that are more innovative.


Investment in technology

The research found that just over two in five (41 per cent) of corporate counsel have seen their law departments increase their investments in technology since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, with 25 per cent saying the investment went up “moderately”, while only 16 per cent said investment went up “significantly”.

Large law departments (i.e. 20 or more professionals) were found to be more likely to ramp up their tech investments, with 56 per cent indicating as such, compared to 40 per of mid-sized teams (6-20 professionals) and just 29 per cent of small teams (1-5 professionals).

While only 8 per cent of law departments of all stripes indicated that their investment in technology had actually decreased in the last two years, more than half (51 per cent) of respondents said that their departments’ investment levels had remained the same amidst COVID-19.

This was especially true for small law departments, with over three in five (61 per cent) of respondents indicating that their teams’ investments hadn’t changed. Mid-sized departments weren’t too far behind at 53 per cent, while just 35 per cent of large departments hadn’t amended their investment in tech.

Confidence in reporting

Separately – or, perhaps as a consequence of stagnated investment in technology – few respondents expressed full confidence in their law department’s ability to report on document management (14 per cent), matter management (15 per cent) and spend management (17 per cent).

Such low figures on reporting, Thomson Reuters wrote, “highlights the importance of quality systems, processes and technologies that lead to more efficient and empowered legal departments”.

Only 10 per cent of small law departments have extreme confidence in their ability to report on document management; just 9 per cent of mid-sized departments have extreme confidence in their reporting on spend management.

Corresponding with their elevated investments in technology, large law departments fared better on document, matter and spend management, but even on those respondents’ best metric – spend management – only 24 per cent of respondents feel extreme confidence in their department’s ability to report on this. 

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