The 2020 Gartner Survey of Legal Leaders predicts that by 2025 legal departments will increase their spending on legal technology threefold, 20% of lawyers will be replaced by non-lawyer staff, and 50% of legal work will be automated. Also, the 2015 Altman Weil Law Firm Report states that 68% of firms with 250+ lawyers have Knowledge Management (KM) resources to improve efficiency.  Why are these numbers relevant to you? Well, because the legal industry, like any other industry, is dynamic and is gradually adapting to automation, enhanced client needs, and innovation. Our previous blogs provided an anchor to various emerging roles in the legal market. 

Knowledge automation is at the forefront of emerging disruptive technologies – second only to mobile internet. McKinsey predicts that knowledge automation will generate an estimated $5-7 trillion in annual value and will combine to bring in an annual economic impact of $33 trillion by 2025 across a wide range of industries. 

So, what are knowledge automation and knowledge management and why does it matter? To understand this, we will first have to look into knowledge and how it is an asset for any industry.

Understanding Knowledge

Knowledge is simply an awareness of a fact, an experience, or a skill. It is dynamic in nature and can evolve, or degrade with time. In order to store, manage and organise the knowledge of a lawyer, it is important to differentiate knowledge with data and convert the two into information. 

Data are facts, figures, statistics, numbers, quantities, or characters that are collected for a particular purpose. Once data is matched with a context, it becomes valuable information. Similarly, a lawyer’s knowledge, when combined with a context (eg: facts of a case, social and economic background of a judgment, etc.), becomes valuable information that can be stored as precedents for future use. 

Tacit and Explicit knowledge 

Tacit knowledge is the personal knowledge of an individual that is unknown to anyone. Explicit knowledge is expressed, applied, and known to other people. Each lawyer will have an abundance of tacit knowledge that, when revealed, becomes an asset for the firm. The challenge of converting tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge is undertaken by the discipline of Knowledge Management. Once captured, it can contribute positively to the firm, and if not captured, it can be lost as and when the lawyer leaves (retires, resigns, etc). Along with capturing tacit knowledge, it is equally important to imbibe the context of that knowledge. Storing tacit knowledge in isolation may not be as useful as knowledge stored with a context. 

Knowledge as an asset

Knowledge is considered to be an intangible asset or intellectual capital. Each member of an organisation has his or her own knowledge space, which can be captured, stored, and integrated into the organisation. JF Gomes, the author of ‘Knowledge Infrastructures in New Product Development’, is of the view that, “knowledge is an asset and should be managed, in a similar fashion to the traditional cash flow, human resources, or raw materials.” 

According to K. Vat, author of “Towards an actionable synthesis of knowledge synthesis in pursuit of Learning organisation”, “as the source of a firm’s wealth shifts from tangible assets to knowledge, it is evident that firms who create their own communal knowledge space between their members embrace a great advantage over those who choose not to.”

Now that we understand knowledge from an industrial perspective, let’s delve into Knowledge Management. 

 

What is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge Management is the systematic organisation, storage, review, and analysis of the knowledge assets of a company to automate processes, increase value, boost efficiency and productivity and create a centralised mechanism of knowledge sharing. Knowledge Management, as a concept and practice has been adopted by many industries. Each industry can make its own knowledge management system since KM is inherently subjective in nature. Automation within the ambit of knowledge management collides at the intersection of technology, process, and people. It is a continuous cycle of three processes: 

  1. Knowledge creation and improvement; 
  2. Knowledge distribution and circulation; and 
  3. Knowledge addition and application. 

 

Knowledge Management Cycles

There are many Knowledge Management cycles as propounded by different thinkers: Meyer and Zack(1996), Bukowitz and Williams (2000), McElroy (2003), WIIG(1993)

The following table briefly enumerates the different stages of each of the above-stated models: 

An integrated cycle of Knowledge Management can be understood in the following steps: 

  1. Capturing and Creating Knowledge: At the very first stage of KM, knowledge assets are compiled and tacit and explicit knowledge is captured and acquired from these sources. Knowledge can also be created, by adopting new technologies, processes, know-how, and content from emerging technologies and trends, to upskill the organisation. 
  2. Knowledge Contextualisation: Once knowledge is acquired and created, it needs to be contextualised for better applicability. The aim here is not just to store knowledge in smart databases but to also be able to utilise that knowledge to automate work and increase efficiency. 
  3. Knowledge Sharing and Dissemination: Lastly, once knowledge assets are analysed, and knowledge is contextualised to be stored, it can be accessed and distributed among coworkers, and clients. 

 

Knowledge Management Strategies 

Selecting the right Knowledge Management strategy is important for any organisation to ensure that it is able to reap maximum benefits of a KM mechanism. Knowledge Management is subjective in nature and each industry can adopt a different Knowledge Management strategy to serve its needs. 

An optimum Knowledge Management strategy should:

  1. Be able to define the aims and objectives of the organisation, and how adopting a KM strategy can be useful in leveraging these objectives. 
  2. Be able to draw a comparison between the current KM strategy (if any) or current methods of knowledge storage and analysis (that could be traditional in nature), and the desired KM mechanism that the organisation aims to build. 
  3. Be able to identify and automate current knowledge resources and succinctly define what the future Knowledge Management strategy should look like, what tools and services are to be deployed. 

Here are some ways an organisation can begin with preliminary process of knowledge management:

 

Knowledge Audit

Knowledge Audit is a comprehensive processthat can be used by enterprises to examine and evaluate their existing knowledge resources, required/used tools, gaps, and desired mechanisms. The process of Knowledge Audit involves: 

  • Identification of core resources of knowledge.
  • Identification of existing knowledge storage and evaluation mechanisms.
  • Identification of potential gaps in existing mechanisms that can be covered or down away with. 
  • Identification of opportunities and tools that could help minimise knowledge handling costs. 
  • Curation of mechanisms for the adoption of newer knowledge management tools. 

 

Knowledge Management Tools

Knowledge Management tools can be divided into two heads: Knowledge Creation Tools and Knowledge Sharing Tools. 

Knowledge Creation Tools help in structuring and organising knowledge. These include: 

  • Authoring Tools: These tools help the users to create multimedia applications in order to capture tacit knowledge. Common examples include MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, etc. 
  • Annotation Tools: These tools help in reviewing knowledge by the means of adding comments and suggestions to an authoring tool file. Common examples include track changes in MS Word. 
  • Templates: These tools act as a pattern of reference to design or draft specific documents. A common example is the template slides of MS PowerPoint. 
  • Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery tools: These tools help in data analysis, statistical analysis, market-related analysis, the discovery of relations, etc. 

Sharing Tools help in inter-disciplinary and inter-team collaborations. These are enabler tools for knowledge sharing and dissemination. Some common examples include Google Docs, Email, Group Calendars, Wikis, etc. 

 

Knowledge Management Maturity Models 

There are a number of Knowledge Management Maturity Models. Each of which entails the basic essence of organisational knowledge management, with different stages and steps of delivery. 

Let’s look at two widely recognised Maturity Models: 

TSIA Maturity Model 

The TSIA Maturity Model is a self-assessment tool for companies to identify the stage of Knowledge Management Maturity their organisation is at. The model has 4 stages, each divided into 4 similar pillars, namely corporate culture, people, process, and technology. 

The 4 stages range from an initial stage of lack of awareness to a final stage of strategic knowledge management.

Stage 1: Recognition: The concept of Knowledge Management does not exist. Collaboration is not promoted. An informal system of Knowledge Management exists, individuals are rewarded for their own tacit knowledge, without any incentive for knowledge sharing. 

Stage 2: Instantiation: Primary understanding of Knowledge Management, its processes, strategies, and importance exist among teams. Basic systems of KM are set up to collaborate and store tacit knowledge.

Stage 3: Value Realisation: The value of KM is recognised across the board. Corporate culture accepts and appreciates KM. KM processes and its technologies are updated to serve industry-specific KM needs of the department. 

Stage 4: Strategic: Knowledge Management, collaboration, storing, and re-using tacit knowledge now becomes a regular resolve. Each department and pillar moves ahead with robust KM mechanisms in play. 

 

Infosys KM Maturity Model (A highly regarded KM Model)

Infosys Technologies’ KM vision is to become “an organization where every action is fully enabled by the power of knowledge”. Their KM Model has 5 stages: 

Stage 1: Default: There is no mechanism to manage knowledge. The concept and processes are entirely alien at this stage. 

Stage 2: Reactive: At this stage, knowledge is not pro-actively shared. However, some basic collaboration is seen when an absolute need to share knowledge is felt. 

Step 3: Aware: An initial understanding of KM now exists. Collaboration is actively encouraged. The benefits of KM are being realised. 

Step 4: Convinced: A robust KM system has been developed across departments. Technology and process needs are met. Knowledge is being shared, stored, and re-used at regular intervals. 

Step 5: Sharing: Knowledge sharing becomes the culture of an organisation. Knowledge processes are continuously improved. 

Knowledge Management in the Legal Industry 

The legal field is marked by its expertise, counsel, advice, and knowledge. This makes law one of the largest contributors to the knowledge economy. The ability to interpret, analyse, quote, and understand the law, is what makes legal knowledge the primary asset of a lawyer. Clients approach lawyers for their legal advice and expertise, there are no physical goods involved in a lawyer-client transaction. Naturally, to ease their workflow, increase efficiency, and preserve precedents for future use, a lawyer would want to store, manage and organise their knowledge. An abundance of knowledge requires smart, less time-consuming, and efficient automation and management techniques. This is where Legal Knowledge Management steps in. 

 

What is Legal Knowledge Management (LKM)? 

Linklaters’ report ‘Knowledge to Action’, defines knowledge management as “A toolkit of different methods, techniques, approaches, ways of working and behaviours that are all designed to enable and increase organisational efficiency.”

According to Reuters,  Legal Knowledge Management is a means for law firms to “achieve strategic goals, maximise operational efficiency, increase learning, drive innovation, deliver services and create value.”

LKM relies on boolean keyword search and is a means to document, store, retrieve and manage data and information. It is different from traditional internal knowledge bases because LKM databases and tools go a step further since they incorporate content verification, security and compliance measures. 

 

Why is Legal Knowledge Management essential?  
  • Knowledge Bank and Precedent Collection: LKM is a technique used to manage, store and organise data and information. It acts as a collection of precedents that can be used for future mandates. Legal Knowledge Management Softwares enables lawyers to store their research, documents and drafts, which are available for the entire firm to access. LKM is an essential tool to build a central repository of information and data, that is allied to the business, client expectations, etc.
  • Store Specialised Knowledge: LKM helps store contextualised knowledge that is client-specific. LKM tools help in intricately separating this specialised knowledge from general resources. 
  • Performance Management: LKM tools and databases are also used to measure the performances of lawyers against their colleagues. In this regard, LKM is also used to record the overall performance of the legal team or firm. 
  • Integrated Information: LKM helps integrate information with other data repositories such as Practice Management System (PMS), Client Relationship Management (CRM), Document Management Systems (DMS), etc.
  • Time-Saving and Sophisticated Search: LKM tools have a user-friendly interface that helps save time and increase efficiency. Once all knowledge is collated in a single database, it can be modified, updated, retrieved, and easily accessed. 
  • PropelsInnovation: LKM provides a space for lawyers to collaborate with other teams to work on innovative solutions while harnessing available knowledge.

 

Legal Knowledge Management Model

As we saw earlier, LKM comprises data and information. The structure of LKM consists of two components: 

  • Knowledge Infrastructure 
  • Knowledge Processes 

 

Knowledge Infrastructure 

This comprises technology that helps automate the LKM process. Many LKM tools make the process easier and more efficient as compared to manual management techniques. A comprehensive list of LKM tools is given below. Another aspect of knowledge infrastructure is organisational structure. Knowledge management suggests flexible, non-hierarchical working space for efficient knowledge transmission. The last component of knowledge infrastructure is culture. It is essential for a firm to have a conducive structure that promotes knowledge collaboration and sharing. 

 

Knowledge Processes

This consists of four simple steps: 

  1. Acquisition: Collection of data and information. 
  2. Conversion: Transformation of data and information into valuable knowledge, known as knowledge artifacts (document form of intangible knowledge). 
  3. Application: Making use of converted knowledge and making it largely available within the organisation. 
  4. Protection: Securing knowledge from potential leakage beyond the organisation. 

 

Role of a Legal Knowledge Manager

To understand the role of a Legal Knowledge Manager from a practical perspective, we have attached a Job description of Legal Management Practice Group Specialist by Baker Mckenzie.

 

Challenges faced by Knowledge Management
  • Initial Hesitancy: An initial hesitancy to implement Knowledge Management processes and strategies exist since the technological setup is considered laborious. Most unaware teams consider it redundant and are not able to capitalise on the benefits of KM. 
  • Getting People on Board: Training people for KM systems and making them realise the importance and utility of KM is considered to be another challenge most companies face. Training teams to collaborate and store their knowledge (tacit and explicit) in a systematic mechanism is a time-consuming task that requires a different set of resources and capital investment. 
  • Security: Shielding knowledge from unknown users and securing it within a company is the key to efficient knowledge utilisation. In this case, the security of KM systems is of utmost importance. 
  • Updating relevant technology: Newer technologies emerge rapidly. It is important for KM teams to keep track of these technologies and update themselves with the most efficient tools of knowledge storage, organisation, and delivery. It is a challenge to not only keep track of newer tools but also identify those that suit the organisation’s need. 

 

Some Popular LKM tools
  1. West km- Thomas Reuters
  2. Lexis Search Advantage
  3. Neudesic Firm Directory
  4. Legal Search Connect
  5. ROSS by IBM
  6. Fastcase 
  7. Ravel
  8. CARA
  9.  KIRA
  10.  RAVN
  11. eBrevia
  12. KM Standards 
  13. Microsoft SharePoint
  14. iManage
  15. Scissero 
  16. Signal Media 
  17. Avvoka 
  18. eBravia 

 

Further Readings
  1. 9 Well Defined Law Firm Knowledge Management Projects Your Firm Can Model,  Aderant
  2. A brief overview of Legal Knowledge Management, Prism 
  3. Knowledge Management in Law firms, University of Warwick 
  4. A brief overview of Legal Knowledge Management, ACC

 

Books
  1. Matthew Parsons, Effective Legal Management for Law Firms, 2004
  2. Luis Felipe Mohando, ‎Silke Gotschalk, ‎Martin Schulz, Knowledge Management in Law Firms: Expertise in Action, 2016
  3. Martin Apistola, ‎Petter Gottschalk, Essential Knowledge and Management issues with Law firms, 2011
  4. Gretta Rusanow, Knowledge Management and the smarter lawyer, 2003

 

Events
  1. KM Legal Annual Conference, ARK
  2. Knowledge Management for Corporate Legal Counsel, ECLA
  3. International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Legal Knowledge Management, ICAI LKM

 

Legal Operations (or Legal Ops) is a multi-dimensional role that sits at the intersection of law with various other disciplines such as finance and budgeting, technology, risk management, project management, vendor management, knowledge management, data analytics, etc. Such roles tend to be more visible in an in-house set-up but law firms have had Chief Operating Officers or Chief Executive Officers who take over this role.

Legal Operations is a borrowed discipline. Its roots lie in Operations Management which is a field that focuses on maximising business efficiency through various processes that involve planning, prototyping, task management, organising, and outcome-based work delivery. 

The primary flow of Operations Management is as follows:

  1. Gather Data: Data gathering involves collating different sets of data from previous projects that a business has undertaken. These data sets could include employee’s performance, work time, efficiency, client satisfaction, costs, etc. 
  2. Analyse Insights: Once data has been gathered and organised, it needs to be analysed, to make it useful for future references and increasing the overall efficiency of the business. 
  3. Build Impactful Strategies: After analysing the data, it is used in a manner that strategies are built for future projects. These strategies aim to eliminate any encumbrances the data would have identified, and primarily builds tools and methods for greater results. 
What is Legal Operations?

The Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), a global community that aims to redefine business standards in law practice, describes Legal Operations as, 

“a set of business 

  • processes, 
  • activities, and
  • professionals 

who enable legal departments to serve their clients more effectively by applying business and technical practices to the delivery of legal services. Legal ops provides,

  • strategic planning, 
  • financial management, 
  • technology expertise 

that enables legal professionals to focus on providing legal advice”.

According to the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), “Legal Operations is the function within the office of the general counsel that takes responsibility for efficient and effective delivery of legal services for the corporation. Dedicated legal operations staff focus on: 

  • optimizing how people, processes, and technology are deployed, 
  • leveraging data to inform decision-making and 
  • performance management.”

 

Why is a Legal Operations team essential?

A major chunk of the lawyers’ time is spent on documentation and administrative work. Manually keeping records of clients, tracking billing, managing, and communicating with vendors (including outside counsel) can come at the cost of inefficient legal services. 

Legal Operations steps in as a department with transferred ownership of all administrative tasks and efficient business and technology application. 

With this shift in responsibility, Legal Operations contributes in the following manner: 

  • Increases efficiency of lawyers in core legal practice (higher quality of legal work)
  • Increases ability to form strong partnerships and propel inter-functional collaboration with various other departments such as finance, IT, HR, etc. This brings more capabilities to the project, maximizing the success rate.
  • Brings more value to the table, by accelerating business through risk mitigation and strategic planning.
  • Ensures resource efficiency for lawyers through various methods of knowledge management, latest technology tools support, etc. 
  • Helps in the growth of the business through regular data analytics by providing metrics and strategies for improvement. 

 

Evolution of Legal Operations
Source: Simple Legal

The pre-1990s were marked with first trying to reduce their vendors’ costs (outside counsel), and focused on risk management. The aim was to reduce the internal costs of the firm. Only a few firms had dedicated Legal Operations teams (eg: General Electric, Bank of America), the trend was still unheard of. 

Post 1990s- 2000s were marked with similar efforts of reducing costs, but, outside counsel was relied upon, for efficiency and their strategic value. 

The next two decades saw a shift in perspective, where firms focused on building value within the business, to avoid looking for assistance outside, this brought greater reliance on Legal Operations. 

The present decade has seen a further shift in perspective, where innovation and efficiency is the main concern of a Legal Operations team. Newer strategies like technology adoption, automation, task management, cross-department collaboration, etc. are being adopted. 

 

What is the role of the Legal Operations Team?

To best understand the role of the Legal Operations team, the CLOC has suggested a 12 core competencies model. Competencies are the different skills and abilities of a Legal Operations team, at different levels of expertise (Foundational, Advanced and Mature).

Source: CLOC
The CLOC Foundational Competencies include: 
  • Financial Management/ Budgeting: Manage departmental budget and work on cost-saving. They maintain financial reports for the legal department such as spending on vendors, technology tools and resources etc. 
  • Vendor Management: The Legal Ops team manages the procurement of external legal services (outside counsel, law firms), alternate legal services (IT management, contract drafting and life cycle management, staffing etc). They work on various tasks such as drafting and enforcing billing and fee requirements, communication with vendors, etc. 
  • Cross-Functional alignment: Maintain and propel relationships with other departments such as Finance, IT, HR, etc., to ensure that legal functions are performed most efficiently. 
  • Technology and Process support: Here, the role of the Legal Ops team is to automate functions such as contract management, compliance, research, billing etc, through Legal Tech. The Legal Ops team tracks new legal technology and analyses it as per utility. For a detailed guide on Legal Tech please visit our last post (linked here). 

 

CLOC advanced competencies should be included once the foundational competencies have developed. These include: 
  • Service Delivery & alternate support models: This includes selecting right resources to reduce costs and develop a culture of automation. This is one with the support of alternate support models such as technology tools. 
  • Organisational, Design, Support & Management: Here, the role of the Legal Ops team is to ensure that a culture of growth and development exists in the organisation. Another role is to ensure that the performance of the team is collaborative within the organisation. 
  • Communications: Another role of the Legal Ops team is to ensure inter and intra communication. This would include tracking legal updates and developments with other organisations in the market and with the many other departments within the organisation. 
  • Data Analytics: Collect, analyse and store relevant data to strategize and gauge performances for future development. 

 

CLOC Mature Level Competencies: 
  • Litigation Support and IP Management: Litigation support includes e-discovery, document review, etc. The other role is to provide operational support in IP-related matters. 
  • Knowledge Management: Here the role of the Legal Ops team is to ensure easy access to institutional knowledge. The team compiles and manages all information related to current case laws, rulings, legislations, etc to make it easy to locate and access information without spending time digging. Another manner in which the Legal Ops team helps manage knowledge is by creating templates contracts, pleadings, etc. The primary aim is to set up a centralised repository of legal documents and legislations.
  • Information Governance and Records Management: Here the role is to record policies, processes and strategies of the organisation. 
  • Strategic Planning: Creating a long-term strategy, aligning yearly goals. Monitor whether goals are being met at the agreed timeframe and plan.  

 

3 Levels of Legal Operations 

As suggested by Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), Legal Operations has three Levels: 

 

Level 1: The Admin 
  • Beginner’s level 
  • Manages legal department vendors 
  • Basic reporting to stakeholders 

 

Level 2: The Optimizer 
  • Focuses on Optimisation
  • Reviews existing processes and determines which should be standardised and optimised. 

 

Level 3: The Strategiser
  • Cross-departmental work to ensure better efficiency. 

 

Legal Operations Usecase – Anecdotal Evidence: Linklaters
Source: Bucerius, Legal Operations: Getting more from In-House Legal Departments and Their Outside Counsel Report

 

How can I engage myself in Legal Operations?

To better understand how one can engage themselves in the Legal Operations department, we have attached a sample job description that you may refer to. Further, we have enlisted some reading materials, courses you may take, webinars and conferences you could participate in, podcasts you may stream, and people you may follow on a regular basis, in order to remain updated with the Legal Operations industry. 

 

Legal Operations Job Roles

To know more about these specific job roles,visit, 4 examples of Legal Operations jobs to help you build your team, Simple Legal.

 

Sample Job Description

Source: Simple Legal

 

What should you read? 

 

Streaming Content

 

People to follow

 

Courses

 

The legal world is characterised by long hours of manual paperwork, research, and due diligence. With the introduction of no-code platforms, automation tools, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML), it is possible to deploy computers and software to automate clerical work and delegate time and effort into the principal legal practice.

The relationship between law and technology is that of the hare and the tortoise. While technology is racing at an ever-increasing pace, the law has only tried to catch up. Since no industry is an exception to the fourth industrial revolution (the digital revolution), the intersection of the legal sector with digitisation is called “Legal Tech”. 

In 2019, the legal tech market generated revenues of over USD 17.32 billion worldwide, with incumbents generating USD 16.75 billion towards the total. The legal tech startup market, which generated USD 570 million in 2019, is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.82% for the period to 2025, with revenues set to reach USD 2.49 billion by the end of 2025.

In our  previous blog  we saw how a new skill set is demanded of each legal professional, and technology is one of the driving factors of this evolution. In this guide, we will look at one of the primary and fast-emerging legal industries, called ‘Legal Tech’.

What is Legal Tech?

Legal Tech (also called ‘Legal Technology’, ‘Law Tech’, or ‘Regulatory Tech’) is the automation of legal work through the use of technology, software, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML) to provide assistance and support to the legal industry. Legal tech is not only a tool for lawyers to digitise data and simplify administration and logistics, but it is also a tool to provide better, easy, cost, and time-effective justice. 

“As computational technology and artificial intelligence mature, more people will be able to have better access to justice.  – Monica Bay, Fellow, Stanford Law School CodeX

While the terms ‘Legal Tech’ and ‘Law Tech’ are often used interchangeably, some lawyers draw a distinction between Legal tech and Law Tech. They opine that Legal Tech is software and technologies that serve the interests of the lawyers in streamlining their work. While Law Tech is used to cater to consumer needs (eg: legal chatbots, legal online marketplace, etc).

Classification of Legal Tech

A notable number of classifications exist in Legal Tech. Each of them attempts to differentiate the existing Legal Tech tools and services according to their utility. 

The Bucerius Law School and Boston Consulting Group, divide Legal Tech into three categories:

  • Enabler Technologies: Deal with digitizing Legal Data
  • Support Process Solutions: Deal with back-office, and clerical work such as accounting, human resources, etc.
  • Substantive Law Technology: Deal with support solutions. These technologies do not provide administrative support, but substantive legal solutions.

The Stanford Legal Code Database provides a nine-fold classification. Which is:

Marketplace Document Automation Practice Management  
Legal Research Legal Education Online Dispute Resolution  
E-Discovery  Analytics Compliance 

Why is Legal Tech beneficial?

Legal Professionals 

Legal Tech can assist lawyers in research, time management, and faster processing that would result in fewer errors. For example, it can save time during the document review stage. To serve the interests of the legal clientele, it can reduce costs and provide transparency. It can further help in cross-team collaboration over the internet. Cloud technology and Blockchain have also made it possible to draft contracts easily, analyse large data, analyse and manage cases, and also provide effective cross-border legal education. 

Law Students

Law Schools around the world have been able to disrupt technology, especially during the COVID lockdown, in providing students with classes, resources, and eco-systems for tech-enabled education. Legal Tech can help law students in legal research and basic drafting. Staying aware and acquainted with latest developments in Legal Tech can help law students bridge the information gap that most law schools lay because of lack of practical exposure. 

Do I need to learn coding to make use of Legal Tech?
Since many Law firms have now started focusing on automation and innovative solutions, a vast number of Legal Tech tools are being used across the industry. In such a case, the question of whether a law student should learn coding has arisen. The answer to this is two-fold. If one is willing to invest the time and effort, many free platforms over the internet offer coding courses. (Check out Free Code Camp, to learn coding step-by-step and also get yourself a certification. Other courses can be found on Udemy, Coursera, EdX, etc).
If time, cost, and effort are a constraint, no-code platforms can help you build applications without any prior knowledge of coding. These platforms have a simple drag-and-drop feature that allows you to choose your desired features of the application and simply place them on your screen. (No-code platforms you could check out: Neota Logic, Bryter)

Clients of Legal Services

Legal Tech can help law professionals meet the expectations of the client, which is driven by the more for less challenge and offers more transparency. The emergence of online marketplaces and legal chatbots has increased access to justice and legal services. Through these platforms, clients do not have to visit lawyers for the slightest of legal questions or disputes. Some firms and startups also provide documentation services, wherein basic contracts can be drafted by the clients themselves through pre-designed, customisable templates. 

How can we use Legal Tech? 

The following table captures the main contours of legal technology:

Source:

https://www.legalevolution.org/2021/04/the-best-metaphor-for-todays-legal-market-is-the-auto-industry-circa-1905-231/

StakeholdersCategoryDescriptionPopular ToolsIndian Startups
Legal ProfessionalsPractice ManagementTools that are a one-stop solution to law specific automationClio, HighQ, MyCase, CosmoLex, PracticePanther, Rocket Matter, LiteraProVakil, myKase by Manupatra, Theo by CFCS, LegoDesk
 Legal ResearchTools that can help gather material, precedents and also manage them.Cara-Case Text, FastCase, Westlaw Edge (Thomas Reuters), Tracers, LexisLawFinderLive, AirInfoTech, Vakilsearch,Mitra by Pensieve, CaseMine, mLeap, SCC Online, Manupatra
 Legal Case Management (including Document Management)Tools that store, analyse, and monitor casesCosmoLex, Smokeball, AbacusLaw, Actionstep, eFileCabinet, iManageLegalCaseManagement by ManekTech, CaseWatch, MyAdvo
 Legal Billing SoftwareManage client payments, send overdue invoice notices, etc.TimeSolv, Bill4Time, FreshBooks, TimeSlips 
 Task ManagementTools that help strategise meetings, priorities, cases, etc.Wrike, Filevine, SmartAdvocate, Firm Central – by Thomas Reuters, LawToolBox 
 Document Review, Assembly, and CreationTools that draft legal documents, assemble them, and review them through AI and MLLuminance, LegalMation, Rocket  Lawyer, Kira, DocJuris, Legartis, Casedo, Documate, Lawyaw, CobbleStone 
 E-DiscoveryTools that identify relevant documents and tag them with the primary documentEverlaw, Relativity, Exterro, Luminance, Lex Machina 
 Outcome PredictionTools that predict the tentative outcome of a pleading. Eg: What could be the damages that accrue?, Likely award or compensation, etcCaseCrunch, Lex  Machina, Gavelytics, Blue J Legal 
 Contract Management
(including e-signatures)
Tools that analyse, store and manage the performance of contractsKira Systems, LexCheck ,DocuSignLeegality, SpotDraft, Anvi Insight by Anvi
Legal ClientsOnline MarketplacesTools that help connect lawyers to clients, and help in Customer Experience Solutions (CX)Avvo, Lexicata, BizzCounsel, LegalZoom, LexooVakilSearch, LawRato, MyAdvo
 Legal ChatbotsTools that provide automated legal advice to clients on matters that do not require expert advice.Robot Lawyer Lisa, Ross, BillyBotLawBot by LawRato
 Dispute ResolutionExtra-legal dispute resolution on the online modeModria, NoloJupitice
 Legal DocumentationTools that help clients create documents through templates.Rocket Lawyer, LegalZoom 

To discover more Legal Tech tools, visit:

LegalPioneer andStanford CodeX

 

How can I engage myself in Legal Tech?

To step into the Legal Tech industry, you can take certificate courses and attend webinars, participate in hackathons, intern at legal tech startups or incubators, talk to experts or incumbent professionals to get an insight into the legal tech world. But before that, one needs to change one’s outlook towards technology and unlearn traditionally associated notions. The hesitancy associated with automation of the legal sector needs to be done away with. 

We have compiled a list of resources that you could refer to turn your curiosity into substantive action and give yourself an initial push.  

Reading

You can engage with reading blogs and articles. It will help you achieve a varied range of knowledge, from basics to practical tools and training. For instance, you can start with Artificial Lawyer, Lawtomate, Legal Evolution, and India Legal Tech. For more reading resources, check out the list given below.

Online Content

You could also start watching content online and stream podcasts. For instance, Legal Tech School on youtube can give you a primer on different Legal Tech software. You could also stream Digital Detectives Legal Talk Network. For a more detailed list, see below: 

Engagement on Social Media (Accounts/Pages to follow)  

Another important and easy manner to learn more is to follow people who indulge with Legal Tech on a regular basis. This will give you an insight into the practical world of Legal Tech and also keep you updated with recent developments.

Courses 
Events, Webinars, Conferences, and Hackathons

Apprise yourself with the Legal Tech ecosystem in your country and abroad 

Legal Tech Incubators
  1. Prarambh– Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) – India
  2. Algo Legal’s Incubator – India
  3. Fuse  – Allen & Ovary
  4. Slaughter and May Legal Tech Incubator
  5. Legal Tech Labs
  6. Next Law Labs
Few Legal Tech Companies and Start-ups in India
  1. Presolv360– Resolution of disputes through online mode  
  2. PracticeLeague– Contract Management, IPR Management, Document Management etc.
  3. LawRato– Video Consultations and Online Legal Advice 
  4. LegalKart– Instant Legal advice on phone calls, document review, document drafting 
  5. Quant LegalTech Pte. Ltd. – Customised solutions through Legal Tech 
  6. Leegality–  eSignature, Document Security, Contracting and Compliance
  7. Lawyered– Online Legal Advice 
  8. IndiaFilings– Registration of companies, preparation of legal documents and Intellectual Property
  9. VakilSearch– incorporation, government registrations & filings, accounting, documentation, and annual compliances
  10. Legal Salah – A legal-technology startup focused on providing law and taxation services
  11. SpotDraft – Offers technology-based solutions for complex legal dealings, including drafting, managing and storing paperwork online, analysing contracts and automating invoices, besides sending reminders and advice on legal compliance. 
  12. LegalKart – Allows lawyers and other professionals in the legal system to assign and synchronise tasks. It also provides facilitates collaboration among professionals. 
  13. LegalPay – Tech-based litigation financier
  14. MikeLegal – Artificially Intelligent legal associate with the aim to significantly ease and eliminate the effort currently required to manage IP related tasks specifically Trademark Public Search (MikeTM Search), Trademark Journal Watch (MikeTM Watch), Trademark Portfolio Management (MikeTM Manager), Patent Portfolio Management (MikePatent Manager) and Contract Reviewer by harnessing the power of AI
  15. LegitQuest – Legal-tech company that operates a legal research platform with Indian case laws
  16. LegalWiz – Provides high quality professional services for small businesses, start-up entrepreneurs and individuals
Legal Tech Networks and Associations
  1. European Legal Tech Association (ELTA)
  2. Asia- Pacific Legal Innovation and Technology Association (ALITA)
  3. International Legal Tech Association (ILTA)
  4. Association of Legal Technologies (ALT)
Job Roles and Internship Opportunities
  1. Legal Engineer at Loyens & Loeff
  2. Working Student Technology & Innovation at Loyens & Loeff
  3. Remote Internship at Bryter(US) 
  4. Remote Internship at Bryter (Germany)
  5. Find Legal Tech Jobs here: https://legaltechjobs.com/