The C-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on all industries and sectors, forcing organisations to quickly adjust from corporate offices to long-term remote working set-ups for all employees.
Looking specifically at the impacts on the legal tech sector, we speak to Partha Mudgil, former COO at Nakhoda, who offers expert insights on how the crisis has transformed the sector and what we can expect in a COVID future.
Organisations continue to face two major challenges: (1) inefficient bespoke processes exacerbated by information silos; and (2) lack of structured legal data that interferes with better decision-making on critical issues, particularly during market dislocations, regulatory change or unexpected crises like the present one (eg. the scramble to understand Force Majeure clauses).
Partly yes, legal concepts, documentation and processes can be complex and should often by informed by expert views. However, in most organisations and for most transactions, BAU legal documentation is largely standardised and can be streamlined to drive faster sales cycles, compliance and strategic non-legal decision-making. Once streamlined and automated, valuable human expertise can be focussed on setting risk parameters and gauging where exceptions should apply, rather than data creation and management. Technology is an enabler for what will continue to be a critical function as organisations become more complex and regulatory environments continue to evolve at increasing pace.
The market is too young and yet to see a consolidation where some providers will be able to meet an organisation’s legal needs (eg. Salesforce) – it may never even happen.
Further, the market participants with most domain expertise (law firms) are simply not designed to meet this challenge. Therefore, for now, organisations will need to think about their most pressing needs and implement a system that works for them, and recognise that it will evolve like any other technology. This is likely to be a combination of (i) domain experts (private practitioners/law firms), as required; (ii) creation/negotiation product + contract review product that streamline contractual processes and produces valuable structured legal data. This combination could be complemented by point solutions for specific tasks, such as an extraction software for historic documentation as and when required eg. for regulatory compliance.
Fundamentally, organisations must consider better ways of structuring data at the outset as it is being created. This is critical to enable organisations to leverage new technologies like AI/ML for linguistic data – without high-quality data, it is impossible to level the playing field with tech giants who are militant about data quality and pipelines. Technology can now be deployed to structure legal data using automated legal logic. This approach can indeed help plug the what is a massive data leak when it comes to valuable contractual documents. It does require some upfront thought and planning on how to structure and digitise documents, but there are now some products that address this problem, though not as well as they could.
The trick to leveraging technology in this space is to have a broad perspective and long-term view, focus on data (not just efficiency) and have a smart investment strategy that caters for building your own data flows between products in what is still a fragmented product space. Some of the larger banks and tech companies have already begun to solve this problem behind the scenes, thus increasing the gap vs. rest of the market. Having said that, parts of the market, eg. challenger banks and fintechs, are in an enviable position of building more dynamic systems today that could ensure easier, faster compliance, risk management and generate insights that more established institutions struggle with. Needless to say, any organisation above a certain size needs to be thinking about how to create better data pipelines, including for critical contractual data, and more automated legal processes for increased sales velocity.
Top tips to progress your architecture career
The role of the modern IT Architect is changing, so it's important to keep ahead in your architecture role and ensure you’re maximising the potential of your skill set Looking to boost your architecture career? Our IT Architecture recruitment experts flag things you should look for from your employeRead More
Six benefits of pursuing a DevOps career
Combining technical know-how with critical communication and operational skills, DevOps is a flourishing IT philosophy, which can transform an organisation’s ability to deliver applications and services at pace and scale. As well as a tech phenomenon, it’s now a strong career prospect, open to a broRead More
Top tips to make you stand out in the tech sector
No one can refute the importance of performing well at interview. However, in a competitive technology job market you'll need to really stand out from the crowd to get the best job. Here are our top tips. 1. Attention to detail It may sound obvious, but too often quality technology professionals areRead More
Come join our global team of creative thinkers, problem solvers and game changers. We offer accelerated career progression, a dynamic culture and expert training.