Login | April 10, 2021

Analyzing legal technology for value

RICHARD WEINER
Technology for Lawyers

Published: February 26, 2021

The technology of the law office should be exactly what that office needs at exactly the right price and with exactly the right functionality. Just like the rest of life. But, like the rest of life, nothing is as simple as we would like it to be.
Acquiring and using legal tech requires methods of evaluation—of assigning value to its various functions. Legal technology ROI may be a little slippery, but here are some guidelines to walk you through the process of giving value to the legal tech your office has, wants to acquire, or wants to get rid of (thanks to Artificial Lawyer).
First, there has to be a “clear legal need” for the tech. The office functions will obviously be the better for it. Leave the “that seems cool” tech for the kids.
Next, it must also make economic sense. The tech has to reduce production costs—particularly reducing the time necessary to complete tasks—as specific as contract analysis or as general as interoffice communications. Basic cost-benefit analysis, but it is more difficult to calculate than, say, a cost of goods analysis.
Evaluate “speed efficiency.” Will the tech help the office get the job done faster—including training time. In large firms, will it be more efficient than throwing a bunch of people at the task?
The user interface is more important than people realize, IMO—something I’ve been writing about since I started writing on these topics. It can’t be difficult to navigate or boring. Nuff said.
The tech must be reliable and serviceable. New tech should have a history of reliability and, like any product, the customer service must be adequate to the task.
Last, dead last, is the “cool factor.” Do you want to go to the scotch and cigar bar and boast about having tech no one else does? Do you want to be answering tech questions instead of asking them? Or maybe you’ll be a beta tester or be involved in paid pilot programs. Hope you have the time to both do that and practice law.


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