Technology is present in all areas of our lives: social networks for interacting with people, social media applications, social networks for delivery for online ordering and shopping, financial technology for accessing our bank account from our smartphone… It has unstoppably reached all sectors of the market: the financial sector with the fintechinsurance with the insurtech… And for some years now the legal sector has been involved with the legaltech.
What is Legaltech?
Legaltech is understood as technology applied to the legal sector. The name comes from Legal + Technology and is a concept that has been in use for about 5 years, which has gained a lot of momentum in Europe in recent years.
This type of technology helps both the professional, who will try to improve his or her service through its use, and the client, who will be able to access the service offered more quickly, rate it, etc.
Mainly, companies that develop software related to the legal world provide easy access to legal advice to all people, especially those with a lower socio-economic profile. Access to certain information, to a telematic consultation – free trial, for example -, to make an appointment for a consultation through an application, etc. will open the door for anyone to be able to be defended or simply to access justice in a simpler way.
These tools not only make access to justice more affordable, but also make it possible to speed up all the steps involved in a legal process, especially the most bureaucratic ones, through automation.
In order to make use of legaltech, it will be necessary for legal professionals to be up to date on the subject, learn how to make the most of it and even specialise in certain processes, thus adding value to their work.
There are different ways to classify this type of technology. One of them is in terms of the target audience. B2B, B2C, B2G, G2B y G2C. It can be seen that there are two types of suppliers – the company and the government if the technology came from the state – and three types of customers – the individual customer, another company and the government.
It could also be classified according to the service offered by the software in question:
- Technology that automates the most costly and bureaucratic work of lawyers through an application or platform. This is responsible for streamlining repetitive processes in which lawyers waste hours, due to a management that can be optimised through technology.
- Technology responsible for solving small legal queries or doubts from customers – whether they are knowledgeable or not – through artificial intelligence software such as chatbots.
- Technology that changes the way a lawyer interacts with a client (be it a company, an individual, etc.), such as online consultation or a cloud-based platform used by both parties.
- The creation of a marketplace where providers and clients can contract services – or be contracted – thanks to their exposure on such platforms.
Who can use Legaltech?
Although it is quite common to associate this technology only with companies related to the legal world, the reality is quite different. It is not only lawyers who can benefit from its use. As mentioned above, it can be used by anyone with a legal interest.
Firstly, any individual who is interested in professional advice can use this type of technology. As already mentioned, chatbots or AI can solve their doubts or even advise them when choosing a specific lawyer.
Another tool from which individuals, lawyers or companies could benefit is the marketplaces focused on the field of law. A marketplace is a space where clients and lawyers can get in touch with each other. It can be divided into two types of users: clients and lawyers. Lawyers gain visibility, being able to offer their service on a specialised platform and being able to receive ratings based on how the client values the service received. On the other hand, clients can make their decision on the basis of the ratings received by the lawyers offered, among other options, such as the speciality of each lawyer, their experience, etc.
Businesses – whether large or small – can also benefit from legal technology. Let us bear in mind that it is not only lawyers who make use of contracts, but also companies and their various departments. We could exemplify this through the different areas of the company.
The sales department, for example, which is always in contact with suppliers, customers and others, needs to create, send, edit contracts – among other actions. Without the use of legaltech these processes can be time consuming for the people in charge. However, through a cloud-based contract management and automation platform such as Bounsel, these actions can be made much easier and faster. An online platform means that contracts do not have to be sent, but can be uploaded directly to the cloud, that any changes – whether by the customer/supplier or the company – that are made online can be seen by both parties, and so on.
Contracts are also essential in the area of human resources. Agreements with the company’s own employees – or an external one in case of outsourcing – entail bureaucratic work that can be automated or worked with online, in order to optimise work and be more efficient.
Also the operations department, in charge of legal operations, will deal with contracts. It is responsible for activities of various kinds, such as strategic planning, financial management, supplier management, etc., and draws to some extent on other areas of the company. This is why contracts and workflow management will be essential to carry out these actions, and legal technology will make the work of this department much easier and more manageable.
Finally, the legal department, for which not only contracts, but any kind of legal document is essential. The possibility to edit it online, to upload and save a document to the cloud, to add different people or departments to a document makes their work much easier. Thus, the most bureaucratic and time-consuming processes, e.g. sending a contract via e-mail, waiting to receive it, storing it, among others, disappear. As a result, productivity increases are really considerable.
Other companies that make most use of legaltech are – apart from companies in the legal field – estate agents and real estate agencies, which are in constant contact with clients and their various documents. An estate agent, for example, has to be aware of the services that are supplied to a building, such as water, electricity or communal services, as well as being in contact with the clients. To cope with such a heavy workload, a legaltech tool can facilitate contact with so many clients and streamline processes and agreement procedures through cloud-based contracts.
In conclusion, although legaltech belongs to the legal world or is mainly focused on this area, its use is not exclusive to the legal world. Other sectors such as real estate or management, as well as companies that make use of contracts or even people who need legal advice can make use of legaltech tools such as Bounsel to optimise their processes and increase productivity.