The behaviour of people spurs change rather than the development of legaltech
The tech literacy of young lawyers is a significant factor in driving the adaptability of the legal profession to tech, highlighting the crucial contribution of the human element to the industry’s digitisation.
For Evan Wong, CEO and co-founder of legaltech startup Checkbox, the versatility of young lawyers today inspired a positive outlook on the future of the legal profession in a tech-savvy world.
“New age lawyers with cross-disciplinary skill sets are coming out of law schools in waves. The young lawyers of today aren't just great lawyers – they're great designers, project managers, and technologists,” he explained to Australasian Lawyer. “It’s encouraging to see how tech-literate the 'standard' young lawyer is nowadays.”
Wong highlighted no code technology as one that has become especially useful to legal teams recently.
“The legal industry has become a primary adopter for a specific category of no code – Expert Process Automation (EPA). EPA automates manual processes that rely on the know-how of experts, such as lawyers. It's not about taking away jobs but augmenting them to focus on the highest value where humans can uniquely add value,” he explained.
Thus, Wong emphasised the importance of going beyond seeking out tools that mainly organise the manual work lawyers still have to do, and instead capitalise on the wealth of legal-specific tech available today for both law firms and in-house legal teams.
“Just like lawyers don’t want their time drained by grunt work, they also don’t want to switch between dozens of apps, figure out how to code to get their jobs done, or hit roadblocks with functionality,” he said. “Specialised legal technology was almost only a consideration for law firms a few years ago. It wasn't as common for legaltech companies at the time to build products for in-house teams, but it's great to see that’s changed.”
Nonetheless, Harriss Wagner Consultants & Advisers partner Amanda Harriss pointed out that tech-related change is driven by people rather than new developments in legaltech.
“Technology is part of our lives and continues to play a central role in creating a healthy business,” she said. “As we ponder over who is responsible for the change that needs to occur and how we do something about it, we need to look at ourselves. We might not be cognisant of all the detail on what has been happening over the years, or appreciate the wastage, but we can look at who is responsible. We know it is probably not technology that needs to change its behaviour – it’s people.”
Harriss pointed out that tech is central to a healthy business, particularly with the pressures of the current environment. However, in order for important tech changes to push through in organisations and firms, the people within need to spur each other on.
“We need to help each other make the transition and change behaviour. This often needs drawing on the strengths of others combined with our own knowledge,” she explained. “Change can begin with doing all we can with what we have in place. It is no longer necessary to take years to make simple change with the technologies available.”