Understanding How Consultants Add Value in Legal Tech Implementations
July 14, 2023
Legal technology, the solutions they power, and the needs of law organisations and law firms all constantly evolve. At some point, your existing legal tech solutions will no longer be best suited to your needs or provide maximum efficiency, especially if your organisation has grown or now requires expanded or new functionalities, automation, and integrations.
Because sooner or later, previously acquired and presently deployed technology and systems will become outdated, you will eventually need expertise in evaluating the solutions you use, selecting new or updated solutions, and implementing them. And even if that point has yet to arrive, it remains important to periodically assess how your system’s capabilities and cost compare to those of your peers and competitors. But most law organisations lack personnel with first-hand experience and deep knowledge of those topics.
A do-it-yourself approach creates tremendous and unnecessary risks. Enter consultants with in-depth knowledge of the industry, legal tech solutions, and best practices. Legal tech consultancies continue to thrive and expand precisely because consultants save law departments and law firms money and time and help ensure the success of an implementation project.
Selecting a consultant requires understanding how their capabilities relate to your needs. Generally speaking, legal tech consultants add value in three realms:
System Evaluation and Selection
Rarely does a single ‘ideal’ system exist for your situation. Instead, evaluating and selecting technology means weighing alternatives and tradeoffs – quite a challenge, given all the legal tech systems available. Consultants know what’s out there and – crucially – the decisions (not all of them obvious) organisations face. Consultants can help you:
- Identify system requirements and integration needs
- Understand and plan for data migration needs
- Categorise and prioritise requirements
- Narrow down the potential systems and schedule/conduct demos
- Rate systems using scorecards and guidelines
- Make final recommendations
Each of these involves substantive knowledge and process-related expertise that comes from having guided other law organisations through evaluating and selecting technology and solutions.
Systems do not implement themselves. After selecting a legal tech solution, next comes selecting among options for implementation support, such as in-house resources, vendor-provided support, implementation partners – or a combination of them.
Consultants bring unique insights, knowledge, and skills that augment in-house resources or what vendors provide. For example, because consultants understand the day-to-day functionality law organisations require, they can translate technical language and issues into terms that law organisation leaders can easily grasp. Similarly, consultants take a holistic approach that incorporates the current and long-term needs of both a legal department and the business it serves. Finally, consultants know how to ensure that a legal tech solution’s design and implementation incorporate the most efficient and effective processes, even if this means overhauling existing processes to meet best practices.
These examples are just a sampling of how consultants aid implementation. Their benefits also include:
- Documenting current and future-state data fields and workflows
- Designing reporting dashboards
- Mapping and re-designing processes
- Supporting the selection and creation of templates and clauses
- Performing system testing
- Preparing training guides and materials
- Providing support during and after implementation
Project Management & Change Management
With legal tech system selection and implementation processes, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Consultants are attuned to the challenges related to budget, organisation culture, business needs, and other factors that impact how best to manage the process. A consultant’s services and support help ensure:
- Effective, efficient project planning
- Close monitoring and control of the project’s budget, scope, and timeline
- Risks are managed and addressed
- Stakeholder communication is regular and effective
- Alignment among the project team, vendor(s), and stakeholders
- Documentation of processes, needs, changes, and more
- A smooth system launch
- Effective socialisation of the new system
The level and type of support needed for legal tech selection and implementation reflects a law organisation’s size, structure, and resources. Consultants understand this and can tailor service offerings accordingly. Remember: failed implementations are expensive and far too common, but avoidable – if you engage someone with the knowledge, experience, and judgment that will make your legal tech project proceed seamlessly and successfully.
Back to Expertise