BP Perspective Insights from a Business Partner

How Legal Technology Is Changing the Practice of Law

Technology around the legal world perpetually evolves at a faster rate, and legal professionals have struggled with how to keep pace. Law firms and legal departments have adopted solutions at different speeds, looking for ways to advance their business model and provide clients with measurable efficiencies — both in terms of time and money spent on services. In general, technology continues to redefine the practice of law, and those not actively participating in the change risk ending up at a competitive disadvantage.

Don Fuchs

When specifically evaluating technology, the key idea is consistent: Identify pain points and issues with workflow and then adopt the appropriate tech tools to solve these problems. Simply purchasing a technology platform and expecting it to unilaterally be applicable to a firm or department’s particular needs presents significant problems.

Here are considerations for a law firm or legal department looking to explore new, beneficial and user-friendly digital solutions.


Legal matters and document management use cases will always involve documents and files. Using technology to manage the matter in a central online workspace where the entire project team can access what they need and collaborate productively is often overlooked.

Unfortunately, document management, sharing and collaborating across project teams are too often still done via email in conjunction with Microsoft Word or Excel indexes. Finding the latest version of a document involves searching through an email chain and trying to make sure all applicable changes are made.

With the right technology, document access and permissions can be set all the way down to the file level, and the platform has full digital rights management and activity reporting to help control and monitor who does what.


Team collaboration is both internal and external, and all these project participants benefit from effective communication and collaboration tools. These tools enable them to break down silos and improve transparency and knowledge sharing.

The correct legal technology allows teams to share files, work together on documents, send private messages, post updates in a blog, manage team tasks, share project calendars and connect.

Information needs to be consolidated in one place to make it accessible by the entire project team. Providing a central workspace for distributed teams to work can quickly solve issues that arise.

The correct legal technology allows teams to share files, work together on documents, send private messages, post updates in a blog, manage team tasks, share project calendars and connect.


The most successful law firms are those with the best guidebook in the shape of legal experience and know-how so they can share internally and with their corporate counsel partners.

However, law firms tend to have a shifting body of knowledge that depends on the makeup of their lawyers at any point in time. The challenge for law firms is to capture and centralize their collective intelligence so that the quality of their experience develops and improves over time. A firm that masters this process and makes quality knowledge available to all its lawyers — and outside stakeholders — at the point they need it, will enable better decision-making and improved outcomes for clients.

Legal technology provides several ways for firms to unlock and capture legal knowledge and share it with other lawyers who need it. This might involve storing and managing precedent documents through a files module, collaborating with colleagues on know-how topics within a wiki, or sharing current awareness through an internal blog. Social collaboration tools can be used to share knowledge and opinions in real time, as well as crowdsource knowledge and guidance to take full advantage of the collective abilities of the legal professionals involved.


All legal matters, except for perhaps the most unique and exceptional, have a standard process and workflow. Whether it’s a contract negotiation, litigation, stock market listing, competition clearance or property financing, they all involve a series of standard steps and actions. Sure, each process will have its own intricacies and complexities, but the foundational process of a specific matter type will be consistent.

Establishing and following a standard process is essential for law firms, ensuring quality and consistency of delivery and helping to mitigate the risk of error — which is essential for all firms.

However, an automated approach to legal process carries even more benefit. It helps reduce manual intervention in the process, frees up lawyer time to focus on higher value tasks, enables downstream allocation of work and speeds cycle times. It also produces data and metrics that allow law firms to identify opportunities for process re-engineering and improvement.


Lawyers help clients mitigate and manage risk as well as achieve value, and they do this in many different ways.

While using cloud technology for data storage becomes the norm, many law firms continue to hold out on adoption or simply want to “test the waters.” The cautious approach in the current legal landscape keeps some firms from fully realizing the ever-increasing benefits. The major roadblock for cloud technology continues to be nontechnical decision-makers who are still under the assumption that cloud data storage is inherently less secure or that in-house IT departments lack the skill to properly secure the service.

However, an informed decision on a cloud data storage provider can help eliminate the fears that law firms have around data security and privacy.

In today’s connected world, access to data on demand is paramount, and any cloud service provider should offer an “always-on” service guarantee. But beyond the network, data must always be housed in multiple locations so that in the event of a data center failure, a secondary site picks up the service with zero loss of availability. Be careful when selecting a provider because backup sites should be in the same jurisdiction as the primary site to ensure data does not transfer across borders inappropriately.

As data security regulations tighten, law firms need to know where data is stored at all times — even in the event of a disaster — to avoid any possibility of unnecessary legal exposure.

When done correctly, cloud data security comes with industry-leading expertise that safely stores a law firm’s most valuable nonhuman asset and enables improved agility and effectiveness. The best providers supply thorough and frequent auditing to ensure systems remain up to date and in compliance with the ever-evolving regulatory landscape.


There can be a certain amount of trial and error involved with technology adoption. Legal departments should not be afraid to re-evaluate and make adjustments in the pursuit of improved process and efficiency. Refinement will always be necessary as the landscape of technology in the legal industry continues to evolve and change.