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Take-up of legal tech still slow

Take-up of legal tech still slow

By Karin Derkley

Practice Management Technology 


Legal organisations are still lagging in their take-up of legal technology, with costs and a lack of training around technology major barriers to adopting new technology, a survey of legal professionals has found. Spending on legal technology dramatically increased last year – with more than $1 billion spent in 2018, three times more than 2017. But the Tech and the Law 2018 Report shows there is still plenty of room for growth in this area. Only 16 per cent of respondents described their workplace as "cutting edge and an early adopter". A third said that while their workplace cared about technology, budget constraints meant they were slow to take it up. Another 26 per cent described their workplaces as "slow adopters", while nearly a quarter said their workplaces had out of date technology, did not put much emphasis on new technology, or did not care about new technology. Costs were the primary barrier to take-up of new technology, with 62 per cent of those surveyed saying budgets were the major obstacle to its introduction. Other barriers cited were compatibility with other systems, lack of internal expertise, lack of time, and internal resistance to change, including from managers and executive teams. Almost half of respondents said they had no training in legal software or other legal technologies at university or law school. Of those who had received training, it was mostly for legal research (38 per cent), followed a long way behind by those who received training for document drafting (5 per cent), risk and compliance (4.6 per cent) or document automation (3.8 per cent). Only 2.3 per cent said they had received training in artificial intelligence. The biggest annoyance for respondents was programs that didn't integrate with each other, followed by user-unfriendly technology and poor training on how to use software. Slow and poorly performing technology was the fourth biggest bugbear. Asked which technology they would like their organisations to invest in, half of respondents suggested document automation, which codes repeated elements of a document or a suite of documents. Examples include Smarter Drafter and Thomson Reuters’ Contract Express. Workflow management software systems were the next preference for investment, followed by document drafting and legal research. Around a quarter of respondents were keen to have their organisations spend more on artificial intelligence systems. The Tech and the Law 2018 Wrap Up was conducted by Thomson Reuters in conjunction with Lawyers Weekly.

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