We were delighted to join the Alternative Events team at their recent In House Technology event in Marlow.
Overall, the conference presents as a who’s who of In-House Legal Transformation, especially those who are already on a digital transformation journey or who are looking to start. So the conference provides a great forum for GC’s and Heads of Legal Ops to share their experiences, or for those who are just dipping their toes in the water, to get some useful, practical insights from peers.
Things we observed
Corporate flexible working is not the new normal, it’s just normal.
- We found there was a marked difference in overall tone between this conference and the Alternative Law Firm IT Conference a week earlier. Legal IT focused heavily on the crisis management role IT played in ‘keeping the lights on’ at their law firms during the Pandemic. There was little to no real mention of this with In-House – as if this was already business as usual for them. The ability to work remotely was already in place, and if not, it was dealt with by IT without fuss or bother. Interesting juxtaposition!
- GC’s are becoming more focused on getting the customer view of where they are. Some great insight from BT’s Chris Fowler who discussed getting feedback from the end users of legal services in the business to determine just where the service levels are to start with and to identify the gaps that need prioritisation. He used a visual spider diagram approach that was simple to understand yet really informative.
- Sarah Ouis advised everyone to start, just start and get on the journey! Use the tech tools others in the organisation already use to solve your problems. But first and foremost, just start. The sooner you get on the journey, the sooner you see the rewards. We found this a fresh and commercial approach to an audience that often has the desire to start but sometimes finds it difficult to find the starting line.
Questions we took away
- How can the GC get the various teams within the business aligned to support the legal department’s digital journey? The challenge of getting budget from Finance, support from IT, the ear of the CEO. There is a lot of pent up frustration within legal departments just itching to get some tech to help solve their challenges – as an industry we have to work out how to help our members navigate this challenge, to align the decision makers and influencers, secure budget etc.
- GC and Legal Teams have never been busier – will they ever have the time to digitise? It’s the age old problem for an in-house lawyer – But saying to their stakeholders ‘I’m really busy’ is nowhere near as powerful as ‘I have 70 contracts to finalise ahead of yours’…. Getting metrics, real data that means something to the business users is key. Everyone’s busy! Data and Dashboard is the answer.
Innovation isn’t really a focus for in-house, but is just good digital hygiene enough?
- I want to find be able to find my documents, I want know which contracts expire when, I want to make sure the correct people are signing Agreements… it’s not rocket science, but the core systems, clear process and the right resources are key to a successful legal department.