IGCC Relaunch, 11 July 2019

Last night we held a soft relaunch of the Innovative GC Club, kindly hosted by Allen & Overy in their innovation space, Fuse. With a lively discussion driven by a panel of tech commentators and vendors and chaired by the Chairman of Fuse, A&O partner, Jonathan Brayne, general counsel asked some tough questions in respect of feasibility and successful adoption.

There were five overall takeaways for corporate legal departments when considering their own adoption of tech, the tools made available by their law firms and the tech we are likely to see in the future:

  1. Who is in the driving seat for legal department tech adoption/optimisation? Is legal at the forefront or have the lawyers been forced to adopt technology by their IT colleagues? In case studies discussed by our panel, the difference between two comparable companies was mainly in the level of collaboration and comfort for the lawyers who would need to adopt it. If your legal team is being asked to optimise, put the lawyers at the front and make sure they are the ones making decisions about what to use and how to use it, otherwise the hurdles will be frequent and you won’t see the same ROI.
  2. Have a business case and business plan. Adopting technology takes sandboxing, piloting and testing. When a corporate legal team gets it right, in-house lawyers have thoroughly considered why the product would make a difference and can demonstrate it with a business case.
  3. Test it on its own. It’s important to make sure that it can integrate with existing systems but, providing the compatibility is there, do an isolated pilot. Work out what different functions and modules are available and how the tool can optimise the way you work and then work on integrating it. Trying to do it all at once leads to not adopting it at all, taking longer to implement it, or not realising the value.
  4. Blockchain will become part of the functions you use, and you won’t necessarily know it. More the ghost in the machine than the tool to slap you in the face, it will talk between different tech products before you even know it’s there.
  5. Push your law firms to optimise. There are tools that law firms can adopt to reduce billable hours on deals by automating, for example, parts of the contracting, deal management or completion process. A number of vendors are marketing these types of technology directly to law firms, rather than corporate legal teams, but their software ultimately produces significant cost savings and other matter management benefits for you, the client.

Thanks to all who came along last night and to our contributors, both on the panel and from the floor.

We are planning to host a formal IGCC dinner event in September and will be launching a thought leadership project in the meantime. If you have any suggestions for what this thought leadership should cover and what you’d like to know more about, please let me know via the IGCC LinkedIn group or by email (georgie.lyon@rsgconsulting.com).