It's a time of opportunity for legal professionals looking to contain the risks and costs of litigation, investigations, and other ediscovery-heavy matters. Advanced new technologies – along with the right talent and processes – let today’s in-house legal teams and law firm attorneys handle skyrocketing data volumes and complex new data types with speed and accuracy.
As legal professionals take on digital modernization initiatives of various scope, legacy services providers are undergoing their own transition. Having recognized that modern ediscovery is crucial for progress in the legal profession, forward-thinking services providers are designing digital transformation practices centered around the most advanced cloud-based technology.
Gary Reznick, Director, Ecosystems Partnerships at Everlaw, has seen digital transformation play out in other industries – including IT, sales, and HR – and has witnessed the importance of partnering for success. We sat down to discuss what the legal field can learn from other industries, how partnering with services providers has evolved, and where partners help drive meaningful change for clients on their own transformational journeys.
Staying competitive in the legal industry has as much to do with having the right talent as the right processes and tools. Where do partners make the biggest difference for law firms and in-house legal teams?
Taking the customer’s perspective, you first need to ask: Are partners doing enough to help drive efficiencies, and ultimately better deliverables, based on modern technology, or are they rooted in more inflexible, commoditized legacy architecture? Partners can most help by bringing their clients technology that helps drive new and far more efficient business processes and workflows to help solve their toughest problems.
Partners will quickly find themselves in a race to the bottom if they aren’t bringing forward-thinking and transformative perspectives to the table.
We’ve seen other industries make the shift from on-premises technology to the cloud. Where is the legal industry today compared with others that have gone through digital transformation?
I believe the legal can learn so much from other industries and it’s exciting to see that we are at a true inflection point. With more and more legal teams wanting to realize the benefits of modern technologies, partners are in a great position to drive meaningful change and even more meaningful outcomes for their clients.
Technology needs to support transformational business process efficiencies. The legal industry is now poised to see those benefits. In a way this is history repeating itself. We’ve seen the shift to the cloud play out across most technology segments.
What can the legal industry learn from others about change at this kind of scale?
The biggest lesson about how to manage technology transformation is the need to embrace the process of change. Change is difficult for individuals and for organizations. Companies need to consider the people factor as much as the technology capability. For big results, customers need to take the change management process seriously, and look at it as a discipline and a key component of how their organization can realize dramatic improvements – from process efficiencies and cost reductions, to increased margins.
In all digital transformations, partners have played an integral role as stewards of thought leadership, change management, and technology innovation. The partners who embrace this approach will win, and so will their clients.
Tell us about the biggest change you’ve seen in the last year when it comes to how customers work with their service provider partners?
Partners are more serious about helping clients drive change and process efficiency by taking a tech-enabled approach to solving the thorniest workflow problems in ediscovery. From a client’s perspective, law firms and corporate law departments are now serious about being part of the end-to-end ediscovery process so that they can have both visibility and impact on their bottom line. Lines are being blurred between what can be done in-house, what can be outsourced, and what can benefit from a truly collaborative approach between clients and their service providers.
What’s driving the shift?
There’s always pressure to reduce expenses and increase revenue. Technology has always been a big part of driving efficiencies. The legal industry just seems to be on the far end of the curve. We’re crossing the chasm as we speak where end-user clients who need both the technology and the services are caring more about how they can better run their business. The client and the partner together can drive meaningful change around the ediscovery process with powerful, scalable, easy-to-use technology.
The race to the bottom is real. Service providers are battling for the same services, leveraging the same technology, and finding it more difficult to differentiate, which means customers are finding it more difficult to drive efficiency internally. Technology innovation has always been the key to unlocking value on a large, transformational scale.
What’s going to shake up the legal industry over the next five years?
We all know Gen AI is poised to drive some of the largest transformation in the industry. It’s important to take the right approach, a responsible approach, to making these technologies work for you. Other capabilities around predictive analytics and machine learning will certainly continue to drive major transformation. However, the best technology will always focus on advancing and improving business processes through easy to use, scalable, and well integrated platforms.
We’re on the cusp of some massive technology enhancements. If legal teams don’t get the process right first, no technology will be transformational.
Close collaboration between customers and partners will be the key driver for successful outcomes.
Read more about the next frontier in the legal profession in “A Q&A With Everlaw Founder and CEO on ChatGPT and Generative AI in Legaltech.”