For legal tech transformation to take hold here in the APAC region, a right-sized set of solutions are in order.
Leaders on the legal tech provider and client/user sides of the aisle are arriving at the same conclusions about the evolution of the legal industry – an evolution that’s underway in APAC, just as in other regions.
Jason Parkman has pointed out how there’s a growing movement toward legal technology solutions being seen across the industry, particularly in corporate legal departments, a movement we’ve called Legal Rising. He’s used the term “tipping point” to describe how we are approaching a moment where adoption will begin skyrocketing.
Mike Haven, Head of Legal Operations at The Gap, had a very nearly identical set of observations after his experience at the inaugural CLOC Australia Institute in Sydney this past September. The Asia-Pacific region is primed for change, as he pointed out:
Business competition Down Under is fierce. Risk must be mitigated and costs prudently contained, yet General Counsel face increasing pressure to find new and improved ways to enable the business.
Yet he also added, with good cause:
Still, as we have seen in other regions of the globe, traditions, customs and norms can make transformation a daunting challenge.
The same Legal Ops demands, but needing “right-sized” solutions
Mike was a member of a CLOC Australia panel that also included Connie Brenton, Chief of Staff and Senior Director of Legal Operations at NetApp and CEO/Founder of CLOC, and Anna Golovsky, Head of Operations, Legal Governance at AMP. The presentation given, Zero to Hero: Building Your Legal Operations from the Ground Up, stressed what other Legal Ops leaders have emphasized: To prove the value of transformation, legal departments need to hunt up “quick wins” using legal tech.
For large in-house legal departments servicing the needs of huge global corporations, adopting enterprise-scale legal management platforms to deliver these wins makes perfect sense, then. Yet for legal departments in Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of APAC, it’s a different game.
As was plain at CLOC Australia, Legal Ops teams across APAC have the same concerns as any:
- To control outside counsel spend
- To identify the law firms that best demonstrate their value
- To simplify workflow and replace manual ones
- To gain oversight and governance over important processes
- To safeguard internal data
- To have a single source of truth for all legal activities
In these countries, an in-house legal department of 40-50 attorneys is considered large. An enterprise-scale ELM platform isn’t a proper fit for the majority of legal departments. But just like their larger brethren, they’re under growing top-down pressure to find the proper solutions to improve efficiency and reach assigned KPIs. Thus, they want to be able to adopt the right technologies to meet this wide range of challenges, and not just for Legal Ops. Cybersecurity is one such front where pressure is mounting.
Uncovering the right legal tech for “quick wins”
Products that are designed from the ground up to meet the requirements of these more modestly sized legal teams are in order. They shouldn’t merely be stripped-down versions of enterprise software, but expressly developed to satisfy a different type of user’s needs for performance, flexibility, scalability, security, and reliability.
This was the rationale behind our own recently launched solution, TeamConnect Essentials, and other providers should take the same course. The demands and the dynamics of Legal Ops for these departments are absolutely singular.
To understand what technologies provide that best fit, and how they can be employed to deliver those “quick wins” that not only gain quick ROI but can smooth the way for further technology adoption, it’s useful to consult those who have been through it before. Justin Hectus, CIO/CISO of Keesal, Young & Logan is one such expert; KYL is an award-winning legal technology adopter and a mainstay of CLOC in the U.S. Justin has partnered with us to deliver several webinars on how to best best leverage these emergent solutions.
Just such a webinar will take place this week: Supercharging Your Legal Operations with Process Automation. The webinar is being provided specifically for APAC legal and Legal Ops professionals and will explain how legal workflow/process automation is a foundational first step for Legal Ops success.
These users are already a fount of enormous innovation when it comes to legal technology; we can testify to that from working with our own clients. As they’re given more of the right legal tech tools, they will do more than simply match the pace of other regions. They may very possibly lead the way forward for everybody else.