How Law Departments Can Make Innovation Stick

Tech advocates on in-house teams face unique challenges.

How can they ensure the changes they push for are not only implemented, but also are effective in improving workflows?

How can they avoid the dreaded long-term fallout from a failed implementation? How can they ensure that buying technology equates to using technology — and doing so effectively?

In “How Today’s Challenges Are Forging Tomorrow’s Top GCs,” legal tech experts Michele Alwin of Wolters Kluwer and Lucy Bassli of InnoLaw Group explored these questions with the legal tech journalist Bob Ambrogi.

Here, we share a few of their insights on making innovation stick.

(View the full webinar here.)

Focus on Education

While lawyers handle highly sophisticated work, they are often inexperienced when it comes to technology. As a result, the panelists noted, vendors have an obligation to provide a thorough educational journey to their clients.

“Just like I hope that when my plumber comes over, they won’t just give me the invoice and say, ‘Sure, I can fix that,’” Bassli says. “Give me some options. Tell me why. Tell me what happened! What am I going to do to prevent it next time?”

Bassli also notes that failed implementations can leave “deep scars” for organizations, harming the credibility of a project’s advocates and creating resistance to future change.

In her work with Wolters Kluwer’s Legisway, Alwin hears some “bad back stories” from customers about past experiences with technology. This can in turn create challenges in helping customers understand how Legisway is different from these prior experiences, she says.

“I think one thing that sometimes gets a little bit lost is: We’re talking about legal tech here, and that’s important, but to the buyer it’s a lot less about legal tech than it is about solving a problem, about improving their workflow.”

Once new tech has been successfully implemented and the necessary support infrastructure is in place, it’s crucial to produce tangible results.

“I want to see real progress. I want to see a lawyer go: ‘Thank God I don’t have to review another NDA,’” says Bassli. “That’s progress … I want to see those outcomes, those values, those benefits.”