5 questions in-house legal teams should consider before buying legal tech

Tech adoption is a big talking point for the legal industry right now – there’s a growing need to innovate and help the industry advance in the same way as its industry-specific counterparts like fintech, healthtech, proptech and edtech.

But with the hype around legal tech soaring, it’s easy for teams to make mistakes when buying legal tech solutions for their business. These mistakes lead to poor adoption of the solution in the company, and frustration for all involved – not to mention the wasted money, time and effort of the lawyers who introduced the tech in the first place.

Buying a shiny tool that’s impressively marketed, under the assumption that it will solve all of the business’ pain points, will only lead to problems down the line. So how can legal teams identify the best legal tech tools for them? All it takes is five questions.

  1. Is it relevant?

Plenty of solutions promise to do everything under the sun … but if all you need is a solution to eSign non-disclosure agreements, for example, then these options might be overkill. More than that, these solutions may be more expensive, and even more complicated to use compared to a simple eSignature tool that directly addresses your needs. Make sure that the legal tech tool you implement actually resolves your specific pain point – this will save time, money and prevent a great deal of frustration in the wider business.

  1. Will it integrate?

Businesses are likely aware of the challenges behind getting people to use new technology. Chances are, if your chosen solution involves a massive implementation project, and requires teams to step outside their chosen tech stack, the product will end up not getting used at all and gathering dust in the corner. If it’s disruptive to your business’ day-to-day, it might not be the right fit for you.

Instead, look for a solution that integrates with other systems, so teams can work where they’re comfortable. For example, in the case of contract automation – legal teams may want to implement a tool that acts as a single source of truth for contracts, but getting sales teams to leave their software of choice (usually Salesforce) can be a challenge. Instead, buy a contract automation platform that integrates with CRMs, so sales teams can manage contracts in Salesforce, knowing all the data across both platforms is live-synced.

  1. Is it cost-effective?

Cost seems like a no-brainer when legal teams are considering legal tech tools – teams can look at a price upfront and determine whether it fits into their budget, but there are other ways to identify whether a solution is cost-effective.

What is the return on investment (ROI) when it comes to buying this solution? If a contract automation system, for example, is expensive, look at the long-term benefits. If this solution will:

  • Reduce costs in other areas of the business
  • Save the business on time
  • Help the business work faster and achieve more

Then it may pay for itself in the medium or even short term.

  1. Will it scale?

This is similar to the previous point – legal teams often have to find innovative ways to work, especially when the business is focused mainly on revenue-facing projects. The commercial team might hire a hundred salespeople, while legal grows by just one or two lawyers. The legal tech solutions they adopt need to be able to improve their output and productivity, without adding lots of headcount.

There’s little value to be found in seemingly endless product trainings and a system that is challenging to navigate, especially when lawyers are pressed for time as it is.

Make sure your solution has a user-friendly interface, and is easy to adopt – but most importantly, make sure it takes the weight off legal’s shoulders by automating low-value tasks, so legal can get on with high-value work.

  1. Is it reputable?

Whether you’re buying a TV, or a new car – reviews are indicative of the manufacturer’s and model’s success. It should be the same with legal tech. With so many vendors out there to choose from, make sure you rely on trustworthy resources to whittle down your options and find a system that’s right for you. Make sure you also look at:

  • Reviews: does this system have mainly positive or negative reviews? What do customers say about it?
  • Customer support channels: are the customer support team available and openly willing to resolve requests? Don’t trust a vendor that treats its new customers as just another name on the list.
  • Transparency: is there enough information about the product on their website? Is it possible to address unanswered questions?
  • Recommendations: usually the most important stream when it comes to buying anything, technology-related or otherwise. Peer recommendations are arguably the most honest and trustworthy form of feedback.

Legal teams that consider these five questions before purchasing legal tech solutions will be able to move faster and make better decisions, and ultimately add value to the wider business.

Richard Mabey is the CEO of Juro.