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GCs increasingly involved in tech decision making

Findings from FTI Consulting and Relativity show that “the era of the ‘TechnoLawyer’ continues”, with more and more law department leaders playing a substantial part in an organisation’s technology ecosystem.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 22 February 2022 Corporate Counsel
GCs increasingly involved in tech decision making
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Global business advisory firm FTI Consulting and global legal and compliance technology company Relativity recently released the findings from Part 3 of their General Counsel Report 2022: Leading with Endurance Through Risk, Culture and Technology Challenges. This part of the annual report, the companies noted, explored technology trends within law departments, including the state of digital transformation as well as how in-house counsel rate themselves and their peers on technology competency.

Key findings included:


  • Involvement by GCs in technology decision making has increased by 13 per cent from the previous two years (due either to the GC’s enhanced role or the addition of more staff);
  • Ninety-seven per cent of GCs play “some part” in their organisation’s tech ecosystem;
  • Eighty-seven per cent of those say they are heavily involved in technology planning and purchasing, beyond providing budget approval alone;
  • The age of COVID-19 has been an “accelerator” for tech initiatives for 43 per cent of organisations;
  • One in three GCs already have road maps in place to support their legal departments through the implementation of advanced technologies and refreshes of core systems;
  • Seventy-three per cent say they are not currently using AI, but many acknowledged the potential value AI could bring to their department in gathering intelligence in early case assessment, contract analysis, understanding large pools of data and matters relating to M&A;
  • Just 33 per cent of GCs say that their legal counsel have adequate technology knowledge and capabilities, marking a 20 per cent decrease from previous years.
Reflecting on the findings, FTI Technology senior managing director Wendy King said that technology modernisation and law department transformation have “continued to evolve as critical priorities for in-house counsel”.

There have been numerous interesting developments on the tech front for law departments lately, she noted, “but most of all is the emphasis that technology issues increasingly fall on the GC’s shoulders alongside a myriad of additional responsibilities”.

“To maintain the endurance needed to face the endless list of demands and risks, general counsel will need to invest in technology road-mapping, training and adoption programs for their teams and analytics tools to effectively do more with less,” she opined.

Relativity discovery counsel and legal education director David Horrigan added: “The era of the ‘TechnoLawyer’ continues”.

This is so, he said, “with the overwhelming majority of chief legal officers reporting substantial involvement in technology planning — something they may not have anticipated while studying torts in law school”.

“We did see a year-over-year decline in the assessment of attorney technical competence as well as only limited use of artificial intelligence. However, with many of the chief legal officers in the report recognising the growing need for tech-savvy lawyers and some seeing the potential value of AI to corporate legal departments, the worlds of law and technology continue to merge,” he detailed.

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