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Legal Tech: Use With Caution

November 29, 2017

IACCM’s recent study of the state of contract management automation revealed low satisfaction ratings and poor levels of adoption. While there are some very successful instances of implementations led by the Legal function, in general systems selected by Law Departments were especially prone to failure – in fact more than 40% more likely to be underperforming.

Contract management software takes many forms, but is tending to be bundled into the overarching category of ‘Legal Tech’. This is misleading and problematic. In a corporate environment, lawyers are just one group amongst many on whom successful contracts depend. In fact, in terms of the overall workload associated with creating and managing contracts, the Law Department typically represents well under 5%. By branding what is quite obviously business technology as ‘Legal Tech’, we simply undermine broader business understanding and adoption.

’Legal Tech’ is certainly an entirely appropriate term in the context of technology used by law firms – in the same way that FinTech is used to describe technology for the financial services industry. But in-house Law departments are not separate and independent businesses. They need technology that integrates them into the business, not that separates them from it.

So as a profession that likes clear and appropriate use of language, it’s time for lawyers to recognize the boundaries of the term ‘Legal Tech’.

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