Running Legal Like A Business - Ch. 15 - The Legal Tech Evolution in 3 Phases

In Ch. 14 of Running Legal Like A Business by Connie Brenton and Susan Lambreth, PLI Press, 2021, author Kunoor Chopra places the current stage of legal ops evolution as focused on #datadriven predictive insights. 

In Ch. 15, author Nik Reed picks up the topic of algorithm-driven computing and drills down on its evolution in the context of the legal industry. He proposes a vetted evolutionary  framework based on -

  • Who: Displacing work to offshore locations
  • How: Automating repetitive, high-volume legal activities such as doc tagging and keyword review
  • What: Changing what lawyers do and the skills needed to do that work

With respect to the latter Reed observes that client's are most willing to pay for "substantive expertise combined with deep contextual understanding." Against this he shares a 2017 McKinsey report analyzing how senior litigation lawyers currently allocate their time:

  • 44% advising, communicating, negotiating and court appearances (highest value)
  • 29% research and analysis
  • 16% writing and drafting
  • 11% document review, case administration and other ministerial tasks (lowest value)

As a Stanford-trained lawyer who co-founded the litigation analytics company Ravel Law and is now with the contracts analytics company Knowable, Reed contends that not only will new technologies enable attorneys to reduce time on lower value activities but also posits the rise of the Quant Attorney, "adept at quantitative analysis and statistical inference, which may in time replace wordsmithing and analogizing" aided by AI that can derive context across documents. 

A 2020 ALM study found that 90% of lawyers think that legal analytics make them more proficient in the practice of law.

Reed notes this chapter is based on this two-part post in LegalTech News published January 11, 2021.  His points of referencesstart with Lexis-Nexis UBIQ, the legal technology (other than a copy machine) I learned to use in my first legal job filling in for a law librarian in a summer between my sophomore and junior years of highschool, steps down in 2004 when AWS went live bringing big data capability to small and mid-size companies, and brings us forward to the present day with well-informed thoughts on the future.

No surprise that the next few chapters (16-18) of Running Legal Like A Business will address contracts analytics and digital playbooks.