In our second analysis of the recent Gadens Government Lawyers Legal Update 2021, we examine the insights relating to technology in the age of COVID. In particular, we discuss the shift toward technology adoption for remote work and the developments in information gathering technology that facilitate remote investigations.
The expert panellists included Liam Hennessy, Partner at Gadens, Stan Gallo, Partner at BDO and Sacha Kirk, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Lawcadia, who each presented valuable insights regarding their experiences using technology to achieve better legal outcomes in their respective area of work.
The first insight relates to the vital technology innovation and resultant adoption experienced in industry as response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID environment and the associated lockdowns has forced innovation,” said Mr Gallo
In support of this insight, a recent survey by McKinsey showed that during COVID, companies accelerated their Digital Transformation plans by three to four years to remain competitive in the new business and economic environment. Whilst the legal sector is traditionally slower to embrace emerging technologies, COVID-19 and its associated consequences caused a change in attitudes that increased technology adoption. By necessity, the legal sector has rapidly embraced technology solutions to facilitate remote working arrangements and ensure the continuance of client service delivery.
Moreover, Sacha Kirk added that the changing environment has caused legal professionals to become curious about digital offerings and seek technology solutions that can also improve systems and inefficient processes.
“Legal departments are less resistant, more interested and more discerning [about technology],” said Ms Kirk
With consideration to the benefits and efficiencies provided by technological advancement, it is unlikely that this trend will disappear any time soon.
The second insight relates to the developments in information and data gathering technology that has occurred during COVID-19.
Whilst we have grown somewhat accustomed to the “new normal” of remote work and using technology for collaboration and virtual meetings, the developments that have occurred in the information and data gathering functions are remarkable. According to Mr Gallo, remote data and information collection capabilities have evolved significantly during COVID-19. Mr Gallo shared an example of these developments whilst reflecting on a recent matter involving a Sydney-based client, during which he and his team were unable to travel interstate to collect data and information.
“We haven’t been able to travel or go on site but obviously work needs to get done and deadlines need to be met, particularly in relation to legal related matters,” said Mr Gallo
In response to the travel limitations, Mr Gallo described how his team designed customised data and information collection bots which were remotely deployed onto the client’s systems to capture the necessary information and data to undertake the investigation. Keeping in mind the legalities and security risks associated with managing large volumes of sensitive information, Mr Gallo and his team built real-time indexing and filtering capabilities into the bot, which removed the need to upload the information online or into the cloud and mitigated the risk of exposing the client to cyber security breaches.
This alternative and technological approach to data and information collection not only ensures important work can still be done both reliably and legally, but also saves a significant amount of time and manual labour.
In summary, COVID-19 has accelerated innovation and prompted a change in mindset towards technology in the legal sector. Whilst remote work and digital collaboration tools have been the most adopted solutions, technology innovation offers further opportunities to improve processes and presents alternative methods to data and information collection. Importantly, the convenience, operational efficiencies and growth provided by these technologies means they will continue to be a key factor of success for future service delivery and better legal outcomes.
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