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Alternative In House Technology Summit- Key Takeaways

For those of you who were unable to attend the Alternative In House Technology Summit or others wishing to relive the experience, here are our key takeaways from the event:

A really good vibe at this year’s event. In Jon Doyle of HSBC, we had a chair who facilitated with real energy, humour and gravitas. Attendees included a mix of some old and yet many new faces. Perhaps the first since Covid. Generally, there was a sense that all topics ‘digital’ are highly relevant to In-House leaders and there is great optimism and growing maturity around buying, implementing and operating technology.

Key standout points from the event sessions include the following:

  • “Identify the problem, prioritise and keep coming back to ask WHY we are doing this.” This advice from Vodafone came up during a discussion on the topic of challenges with introducing technology to legal teams. A good mantra to have on the wall in the war room of any change programme!
  • “Encourage experimentation and team members having a go with tech.” Lawyers tend to follow a permission culture – asking first for fear of failure. The advice was to encourage team members to have a go! One sub-strand here was around recommending law firm partners experiment with innovation which presumably would have to assume they are operating under a commercial model that incentivises innovation and efficiency. Otherwise, could be a waste of effort!
  • “Has the legal sector made as much progress in embracing technology as it could and should by now?” At one point, the panel was asked this question. The inference was ‘not’ and perhaps the two previous observations could be the contributing factors here.
  • “Using hard data as the evidence for change. Or ‘anecdotes’ to ‘analytics’.” Asda, Accenture and Chanel explored this enduring topic of harnessing data flows across the legal department and the remarkable insights this gives you into the operations of the business.
  • “Developing digital legal threads in contracting processes” was a theme developed by Accenture who has over 60 legal operations professionals worldwide and continued presenting on day two around the critical importance of workflow tools.
  • “Transforming the entire legal operating model.” All participants talked about their experiences of business transformation across their organisation, outsourcing, offshoring, digital tools for onboarding work and so on.
  • “I put my email ‘out of office’ on when I am ‘in the office’.” This succinct articulation of finding the point of coming into the office summed up a fascinating exploration of the modern workplace and working practices. The topic of delegating trust to each individual in your organisation and how industrial age practices of hierarchies, constant measurement and supervision are no longer relevant in this new age of working.
  • “I am yet to see a law firm provide a tool that simplifies things for me” was the standout remark from a General Counsel in the panel on managing external counsel. The ensuing discussion focused on transparent data, mutual trust, accurate scoping of a matter, risk, and quality management.
  • “Where can I find out more about M365?” A recurring question amongst many other similar questions in the well-attended Intapp and Royal London roundable on M365 for Legal. If you are looking to start, I recommend subscribing to Panoram’s Microsoft for Legal Community and upcoming webinar.
  • “Don’t do more with less. Do Less!” This gem from the Day 2 panel served to highlight the importance of self-service automation.
  • “Knowledge should find the user, not the other way around.” This theme played out in discussions around recent technology innovations such as ChatGPT though the speakers also focused on the wider importance of having a legal strategy aligned to the business outcomes and a clear blueprint to work towards rather than tech specifically.

All in all, an excellent event thanks to Steve and SK and their welcoming team.