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5 mistakes to avoid in legal tech projects

Legal tech seems like a magic wand that can give in-house lawyers superpowers. The reality is that the technology exists to do just that, but putting the idea into practice is sometimes more complicated than it seems. Artificial Lawyer points out that at least 77% of legal tech projects fail in organisations. How is this possible? And more importantly, what should a legal department do to make its digitalisation project successful? If you want to know how to be one of the other 23%, you have come to the right place, because in this article we will talk about the five main mistakes to avoid when starting your legal tech project.

Young lawyer sitting in his office in the dark, looking desperate. Bigle Legal article on legal tech.

Five most common mistakes when implementing a legal tech project

  1. Implementing technology without a clear strategy
  2. Using technology that is complicated and difficult to use
  3. Failing to seek close and effective support from suppliers
  4. Neglecting data security and privacy in implementation
  5. Failing to evaluate and adjust the strategy

Implementing technology without a clear strategy

Mistake 1: implementing technology without a clear strategy

One of the most critical mistakes in the implementation of legal tech projects by legal departments is the need for sound strategic planning. Jumping straight into technology adoption without a strategic vision can lead to confusion and inefficiency. It is critical to set clear objectives, identify needs and define the steps to achieve them.

At Bigle Legal, the team of consultants works closely with the legal management to understand the legal operations of the company, the cultural reality of technology adoption among its members, and where the key bottlenecks are. From this, we develop an implementation plan that is realistic and has the buy-in of the whole team.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail", Benjamin Franklin.

How strategic planning can drive success in legal tech projects?

Take strategic planning as the rudder that sets the course for your legal tech implementation. Define roles, responsibilities and timelines, and provide a clear roadmap for your team. There is no need to embark on pharaonic projects, always plan step-by-step but with realistic goals. By aligning technology with the goals of the company and the legal department, you can ensure that every step is moving towards success.

Now you know where you are steering the ship, but you need to anticipate which team will steer the ship, what procurement you will need, and so on. A good technology consultant will help you create a project timeline. Break the project down into chunks and define the responsibilities of each party at each stage.

Examples of effective strategies

Examples of effective strategies include setting up implementation committees, identifying KPIs to measure progress and conducting regular assessments to adjust the strategy as necessary. Having skilled professionals to do this is also essential: according to Above the Law, nearly half (47%) of in-house legal professionals said that the ability to adopt new technologies is the most important non-legal skill for the next generation of in-house professionals, a percentage three times higher than any other skill identified in the 2023 State of Corporate Litigation Report de la Association of Corporate Counsel.

Using technology that is complicated and difficult to use

Mistake 2: Using a complicated and difficult-to-use technology

Another critical mistake in the implementation of legal tech projects is the choice of a technology that does not meet the needs of the users. The success of a tool lies in how easy it is to use, as technology has to make life easier, not create new puzzles. Lack of usability and a lack of adaptation to legal workflows lead to resistance and dissatisfaction from in-house lawyers: don't force your team to throw in the towel before they've even started.

You don't have to think too much about it, usability comes through the eyes: Look at the technology you are going to rent, and you will easily see if they are selling you a Motorola or an iPhone.

How a usable and approachable tool can drive legal tech adoption

Usability is key to successful adoption. A friendly and aesthetically pleasing interface, coupled with an intuitive and easy-to-use working environment is the foundation for success. The tool chosen should be tailored to the needs and preferences of the users, which will make the transition to the technology smoother and more effective.

Strategies to ensure usability and user-friendliness of the tool

Selecting a tool that integrates naturally into legal processes, offers a user-friendly interface and allows customisation is essential. In addition, user feedback is more than valuable: opt for a legal tech solution that listens to its customers. For example, in the case of Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) technology, it is key that all the functionalities and possibilities offered by the platform are easy for the user to understand.

A smiling lawyer consults her mobile phone as she arrives at her glassed-in office. Bigle Legal article on legal tech.

Failing to seek close and effective support from suppliers

Mistake 3: Failure to seek close and effective support from vendors

The lack of a skilled and close support team can leave users feeling lost and frustrated. Look for support that can respond quickly and, most importantly, in the language of your team.

All too often, our clients tell us of the bad experiences they have had when seeking help from a legal tech solution that has support in a distant country thousands of miles away, does not speak their language and is unresponsive.

The importance of close and effective support

Close and effective support, fluent in the local language, is essential to resolve user issues and questions in the fastest and most satisfactory way. Providing a direct communication channel and access to experts allows users to overcome any obstacles and get the most out of the technology.

Effective ways to support and encourage adoption

Ask vendors about their support team, look for online reviews, find out if they have a training academy and if they listen to customer feedback. And yes, we have mentioned this before, but pay attention to the language

Ask vendors about their support team, look for reviews online, find out if they have a training academy and if they listen to customer feedback. And yes, we have mentioned this before, but pay attention to the language and channels you can use to communicate with the support team. Preferably, look for chat, email and phone services where you have a dedicated person that you know from the beginning of the project and can build trust with so that when you get lost and need an urgent answer, they are there to help you.

Neglecting data security and privacy in implementation

Mistake 4: Neglecting data security and privacy in implementation

Data security and privacy are critical issues in any legal tech implementation. Pay special attention to these aspects as they can put confidential information at risk and cause major problems for your organisation. 

Risks associated with a lack of data security

A lack of data security can lead to data breaches, leakage of confidential information and legal consequences. Loss of data confidentiality can have a devastating impact on the reputation of a law firm or legal department.

Strategies for ensuring data security in legal tech projects

Encryption, access control, multi-factor authentication and regular audits are essential data security strategies. Choose vendors that are regularly audited against certifications such as ISO 27001. Talk to your information security and compliance teams before signing up for a legal tech solution and make sure it has a robust privacy policy.

Three lawyers chat next to their glassed-in office with their diaries in hand. Bigle Legal article on legal tech.

Not evaluating and adjusting the strategy

Mistake 5: Failing to evaluate and adjust the strategy

A common misconception is that legal tech implementation is a static process. A lack of ongoing evaluation and adjustment to the vision that once drove the project can lead to obsolescence and failure to realise the full potential of the technology.

The importance of feedback and metrics

User feedback and the measurement of key metrics or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are essential to evaluating the performance of the technology. Identifying areas for improvement and adjusting the implementation accordingly is fundamental to ensuring that a technology project evolves in the best possible way.

Review and continuous improvement processes

Establishing formal review processes, defining KPIs and conducting regular audits are the tools that not only enable continuous improvement but also keep a project moving forward rather than stagnating in mere implementation. Learning from successes and failures ensures that the technology remains relevant and effective over time.

To move forward with your legal tech provider, you need to have a good relationship with them. We have covered this topic before on our blog, talking about the five keys to an optimal vendor relationship.

Create the winning project together with your legal tech partner

One thing is clear: the right technology is not just a magic wand for your legal department, but it is also important to understand that there will be change and resistance within your organisation. It's up to you to find the right supplier and it will be up to both of you to put together a winning project but keep in mind the five aspects we have discussed to increase the chances of it being a success. Make sure your vendor understands your priorities, helps you develop a clear strategy and, of course, is critical of the legal tech you have in front of you. This will help you succeed in digitising your department.

If you are looking for the most complete Contract Lifecycle Management solution with the best consultancy and support team behind it, request a demo from the Bigle Legal team and be amazed by the latest in legal tech.