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Gartner spots in-house legal tech trends stretching out a few years

Technology for Lawyers

Published: April 29, 2022

Research and advisory company Gartner, which has presented some of the most compelling analyses of legal tech data through the years, is in the house with some predictions for 2024 and beyond. Most of these predictions are for larger firms and, particularly, in-house legal staff.
As this column and many other folks in this field have been saying for a couple of years, Gartner acknowledges that the pandemic-forced WFH experiment has solidified into a “new normal” of hybrid office environments and an explosion of technological solutions in the legal office space.
Following on that, Gartner has made some predictions—and I, for one, listen to these guys when they talk.
To begin with, Gartner foresees law firms tripling their legal tech expenditures by 2025. This will be concomitant with these firms either losing employees or maintaining current employee levels. This goes along with employment numbers across the larger economy. The same number of employees will need to do more—so the answer is more and better tech.
Next trend up is replacing up to 20 percent of low-level legal staff with non-lawyer staff. Included in this trend is that fact that a number of lawyers are performing non-legal, administrative, IT and other functions that non-lawyers can just as easily (and more cost-effectively) perform.
The next trend is automation—particularly the automation of contracts and other major corporate transactions. Contract automation has been around for a bit, but Gartner says that this arena is really ready for a robotic takeover (at this point, I would direct you to the series Raised by Wolves). About t third of corporate transactions were automated in 2019, and that number will reach 50 percent or more in the next three years or so.
Fourth, Gartner predicts that the third prediction will be planned and executed by groups of people who don’t know what they’re doing, wasting time, money and human resources in the pursuit of technological interfaces that won’t work right. Legal departments, the advice goes, need to work in ways that they understand (or hire the right experts) and not have pie-in-the-sky projections.
And fifth, at least 25 percent of law office tech solutions will be in non-legal specific platforms (like CRMs, etc). As in running the business side of a law office like it is any other business.
All seems reasonable to me. If you want to read the entire article, it is here: https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/5-legal-technology-trends-changing-in-house-legal-departments