LegalTech and Adoption - What Do the Users Want?

LegalTech and Adoption -

What Do the Users Want?
By Practiceleague

Like every service-based industry, legal technology is also heavily customer-centric. Regardless of how much funding a legal technology product might have picked up in investment, the metric of its success will always be adoption.
The good news? New generation lawyers are comfortable with technology, and eager to integrate it into their work-lives

So, what is it that the end users want from their tools? Take a look

1) Efficiency & Accuracy:

After all, isn’t that the winning argument for technology in general? The biggest problem plaguing lawyers since the beginning of time, is the lack of time. Be it at law firms or in-house corporate departments, lawyers are juggling countless tasks on a daily basis, from managing contracts and compliance to performing due diligence and dispute resolution.

If a tool is able to significantly reduce the time taken in a particular task or increase the amount of work done in the same amount of time, without compromising on the quality of the end result, it is bound to win the adoption battle. It is for this very reason that a major portion of the tools that find successful adoption are tools that can automate tasks which would take up a major chunk of time when performed manually. Point in case? The widespread adoption of contract lifecycle management tools. Today, every SaaS company has equipped its legal department with a version of an AI-powered contract lifecycle automation tool, thereby freeing them from several repetitive steps in daily contract creation and management.

2) Ease of adoption and usage:

A solution that is too complicated to be implemented is no solution at all. A successful tool is easy to use and does not require too much upskilling. Sadly, many tools end up over-engineering the solution process, adding steps that drag the tool towards redundancy.

Too many passwords, format restrictions and requirement of multiple technical steps act as a huge barrier towards adoption in legal tech. Product companies must remember that their regular consumer has numerous other priorities than learning how to use a new tool. Greater the time that a user has to spend on navigating on their tool, the lesser the chances of its actual adoption. The most effective tools are user-friendly, easy to navigate and have interactive user interfaces. The fact that the layout and interface design of Google Docs is exactly like MS Word has played a huge role in its popularity with users universally. The same applies to legal technology tools too.

3) Interoperability/ Cross-functionality:

Law firms must have a long-term strategy that encourages technology adoption; The term “interoperability” refers to the basic ability of different computerized products or systems to readily connect and exchange information with one another, without restriction. In terms of legal technology, it translates into a product seamlessly fitting in place with your core business processes. A tool that can easily integrate into existing systems and workflows, and solves multiple problems, will always be preferred to a tool that addresses an isolated issue.

Collaboration and coordination are essential for the smooth functioning of any department system, and software that enable members of different departments and organizations to connect ideate and create together will always be successful.

4) Security:

Lawyers deal with highly sensitive and confidential data on a daily basis, where a single security breach could result in the loss of millions of dollars. From a merger worth millions of dollars to classified client information, lawyers are privy to confidential data at all points and understand the tools they use must also be able to guarantee a very high level of security.

CEOs and product heads can easily win the gold in this race by clearly demonstrating their product’s various security features. In practice, every product demonstration must inform its potential users how it protects their data against the present threats, instead of simply using vague terms like “bank-level security” or “256-bit encryption”. Data security and privacy concerns have proved to be one of the biggest barriers to the adoption of legal technology, especially so in light of the numerous cybersecurity and ransomware attacks on companies in the last few years.

5) Cost-effectiveness:

Is the annual cost of your product exceeding the amount it saves in time or billable hours? If not, then it is unlikely that it will be adopted. Chief innovation officers or managing partners, who are the decision-makers will always compare product cost to whether the same productivity could be achieved by hiring a couple of more associates/ paralegals. According to a survey by Bloomberg, more than half of respondents from in-house counsel offices agreed that “the primary barrier in adopting tech at a faster pace is the lack of funding.”

Having multiple tiers of costing or subscription plans is always a good idea. With almost all tools in legal technology being present in the form of service as a subscription offering, companies are exploring innovative models of pricing. Many service providers have found success in assembling customised plans that are in-line with customer needs, offering a range of plans that incentivise longer purchase periods.

The future is customer-centric

There is no lack of offerings in the legal technology space; think of one problem, and you already have at least five different tools that promise to solve it most effectively. Far too many times, a lawyer and a techie come together to try and optimise an already working process, and then try to find use cases for the created product. Instead, it’s time for CEOs and product heads of legal technology companies to try and create products that are solutions to problems being faced by the end users.
The assumption that lawyers of today are averse to technology and don’t want to change traditional business models is ill-founded; in reality, lawyers are willing to adopt new technology as long as it can meet their needs, and meet it well.