Do You Have a Plug-and-Grow Legal Tech Stack?
Understanding the current needs of your legal team is no longer enough: today’s legal teams need to be constantly building towards the future. And while it’s safe to say that in that future, the legal technologies stack will be more robust and solve even more of our challenges? This also introduces the anxiety of complexity. But it doesn’t have to.
We can solve today’s challenges and set the stage for tomorrow when we begin to see how interconnected these challenges are. That is why, although we love plug-and-play technology for solving legal management needs, what legal departments should embrace today to brace for morgen ist plug-and-grow, plug-and-shift, plug-and-merge.
Complexity isn’t a bad word in legal departments. Complex challenges require complex solutions, and legal teams face a lot of complex problems. This is actually one of the reasons legal teams are so great to be involved with: they are constantly adjusting, taking agile approaches to evolving issues, and creating new, lasting solutions. It’s an exciting place to be.
But there is a difference between inner und outer complexity. The legal technologies that will save the day will do complicated and high-powered work but will be outwardly simple to use. For example: By automatically tagging your contracts based on content and then pulling metadata to ensure that these contracts go to the right people based on certain parameters, without making any users wrestle with the underlying complexity of the process. Legal teams know this; this is plug-and-play.
With every new problem und each solution, complexity increases. Often, a new solution brings with it the beginning of a new issue: you have the technology now, but how will it flow into your full stack? It might solve the one issue quickly, but does it introduce a new lag time, or new steps, or new people to maintain it? How many support desks are you submitting tickets to?
The legal technologies plan to follow?
The plan to plan on following that will deliver the right results in this context? Simplify, simplify, simplify. You want your legal team and legal technologies stack to work together as parts of one ecosystem. Introducing something new always poses risks: we all know the popular change management mantra that people don’t hate change, they hate loss.
When you introduce new, time-saving, compliance-inducing software to help your employees perform better, loss is usually replaced with gain. But it’s tricky. The best way to show how your legal technologies help your employees is by showing how they bereits work with similar technologies. Consider expanding on one technology that is working well, or expanding your partnership with a vendor that you trust, instead of introducing something altogether different and untested.
Whenever you implement ELM, CLM, or WFA, or really any new technology, it’s crucial that you look beyond individual pain points to the larger system you are trying to fix.
Each technology that you purchase should be able to attack more than one pain point: it should gather a system of pain points together and eliminate them all at once. Implementing new technologies takes effort, and you don’t want to introduce more complexity than necessary. Simplify, simplify, simplify.
Legal technology budgets will increase threefold through 2025 as general counsel face unprecedented pressure both in terms of managing legal workload and driving efficiency in their departments…
Taking a holistic approach to legal technologies
The challenge, it’s clear, is for these organizations to make sure their new legal technologies investments in solutions like ELM are approached holistically, with an eye toward creating a legal technologies stack that’s streamlined, scalable, and future-proofed, and which serves the needs of the entire enterprise long into the future. Otherwise, they may rush forward and wind up with short-term, band-aid implementations, cobbled together in a tech stack that can’t grow with need and optimize long-term value.
By implementing unified, integrated solutions for the “three legs” that are the foundation of an effective and forward-facing legal tech stack, it’s possible to set the entire business up for long-term success.
That, though, requires a commitment to identifying and adopting strategic products and strategic partners to support them, and recognizing the need to evaluate them in terms of the value they can deliver not just now, or in the near term, but for many years to come.