Legal11 May, 2021

UK in-house lawyers expect to use legal tech every day within next 5 years

A new benchmark amongst UK-based general counsel by Wolters Kluwer and The Lawyer examines how in-house legal departments can demonstrate value and increase efficiency with the use of legal technology

(May 11, 2021) – The shift to agile working necessitated by the pandemic rapidly accelerated trends and acceptance in the uptake of technology throughout the corporate world, including in-house legal departments. The Demonstrating value: legal technology and your in-house legal department report from Wolters Kluwer and The Lawyer looks at how legal technology can improve efficiency within the modern in-house legal department. Despite varying approaches to digital transformation, survey respondents believe that they will use legal technology every day in five years’ time, and 37% of respondents believe it will be used in 61-100% of their work. Change is imminent, and legal departments are looking at ways how best to prepare for it.

“In this past year, we’ve clearly seen how the pandemic has accelerated the shift to a more digital mindset amongst legal professionals. There’s been a rapid acceptance of new ways of working. Technology has been a key enabler of remote work, collaboration and maintaining business continuity. For many legal departments this has once and for all proven the benefits of legal technology”, said Maurits Annegarn, Segment Manager Legal Software, Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory.

The Demonstrating value: legal technology and your in-house legal department report is based on a survey  of approximately 130 general counsel from leading organisations across the UK to examine how legal technology can improve efficiency, the type of technology that is in use today, and what technologies departments are planning on implementing in the near future. The survey analysis is supplemented by interviews with heads of legal at organisations including Bupa, BT and the City Football Group.

Key findings of the ‘Demonstrating value – legal technology and your in-house legal department survey include:

  • Current priorities: Over 66% of respondents indicated that they were planning to increase efficiency in ‘structuring processes’ over the next three years. 57% of respondents are planning ‘greater use of analytics, metrics and reporting’, while 61% are planning on introducing ‘one central repository for information, data and documents.’ Put simply, respondents are driving to improve their efficiency.
  • Technology and the business: 58% of respondents are planning to improve their organisation’s ability to ‘collect, organise and retrieve legal information’ over the next three years. 49% are planning to improve ‘collaborating with other departments throughout the company / third parties’ whilst 47% are planning to improve ‘managing workload/high volume of requests’.
  • Legal technology in use: All general counsel expect that their legal department will use some degree of legal technology every day within five years.
  • Digital strategy: Despite this, only 40% of general counsel have a digital strategy in place to support the implementation of technology into their department with an additional 19% currently determining their strategy. However, only 31% of digital strategies have specific goals and a timeline for achieving milestones.
  • Digital budget: 43% of our respondents have ‘no specific budget’ for their digital strategy, which points to a broader lack of maturity in long term planning when it comes to legal technology.

As the world moves beyond the pandemic, focus will shift to solutions that can improve efficiency and add value to departments and the wider business. For in-house lawyers, this means focusing on solutions that can help or improve their ability to structure processes, the use of analytics and metrics, and give more autonomy to the business. When underpinned by the right technology lawyers have more time to focus on high-value tasks, allowing them to add strategic value to the business and drive long-term growth.

Detailed findings and further insights are available in the study report, which can be downloaded here.    

The Lawyer is the most recognised and trusted source for the latest news, actionable insights and independent editorial commentary on the business of law for both private practice and in-house legal departments. It provides its audience with competitive intelligence to enhance the strategy and management of law firms and in-house legal departments.

Wolters Kluwer’s Legal Software unit, part of the group’s Legal & Regulatory division, is a global leading provider of innovative and practical software solutions for corporate legal departments and law firms, including Legisway and Kleos. Its cloud-based and on-premise portfolio of solutions is developed side by side with customers, enabling legal professionals to increase efficiency, performance and mitigate risk. State of the art, ISO-certified technology and teams of experts ensure the highest security and quality of service for more than 100,000 legal professionals across nine countries in Europe and the US.

About Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer (WKL) is a global leader in professional information, software solutions, and services for the health, tax & accounting, governance, risk & compliance, and legal & regulatory sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with specialised technology and services.

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Annemarie van Wel
Communications Manager

Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory

Legal Software