GC’s Digital Transformation Journey – Going from traditional lawyer to forward-thinking lawyer is more necessary than you might think
When everything is taken into consideration, corporate lawyers must create a better future for themselves and for the profession itself.
Back in my first year as an associate lawyer – on my third day on the job – a senior partner approached me and said, “Hey Jerry, I need you to download and print Facebook.” Even though that was at the very beginning of the social media platform, even then, downloading and printing the entirety of Facebook seemed downright impossible. But I took on this task with enthusiasm and confidence – my eagerness in the new role fueling my creative problem-solving skills. I calculated the cost to download (and, yes, print Facebook!), Rent warehouse space, handle shipping logistics, and transport all documents to a storage site. However, in a follow-up meeting on this (now laughable) company, I realized the partner’s technology misconception – and my own mistake – by diving headlong into the project, without clarifying the result or solution needed.
Perhaps nothing illustrates the legal need for digital disruption better than this scenario. Indeed, I learned a thing or two while I was a traditional lawyer turned avant-garde lawyer. And from those learnings, I extracted a key message – something I often share with my colleagues at the company, whether they are Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers, or Millennials. That is, it has never been more necessary to adopt the latest legal technologies – to be more efficient and effective in your practices, to make higher-level strategic decisions and to become a good legal leader – than today. Here’s why that is exactly.
Practice a “brilliant law”
I do not remember not having computer systems, chipsets, and gadgets in my house while growing up. And compared to other lawyers, I have certainly had a more tech-oriented career (although I started out rather traditionally). At the beginning, I really thought that litigation was my vocation, first as a legal clerk before joining a medium-sized firm with many leading clients in the pharmaceutical, energy and media sectors. But I was just not happy to be a litigator, much preferring to work on technology projects rather than go to court and take over corporate law assignments rather than engage in practice. some movement. I eventually created my own law firm focused on tech start-ups, advising sports and other teams on privacy law, and dealing with eDiscovery and computer forensics. Shortly thereafter, I joined a tech company as GC and General Secretary – its first – before joining ContractPodAi as GC and Chief Evangelist (Technology).
As a legal executive today, I advise clients on their journey to more digitally-focused legal operations. I help them deploy strategic digital solutions for their legal departments and organizations. With a nod to Guy Kawasaki (the original tech products evangelist!), I see my role as delivering the ‘good news’ about legal technology and ensuring that new technological concepts benefit our people. customers and lead them to greater success. It is my genuine desire to make lawyers and related professionals better at their jobs and roles.
It goes to the heart of what I call a “great law”. We lawyers should embrace legal automation and seek out the kind of legal work that is particularly meaningful and makes us truly happy. Of course, it would be an exaggeration to say that we habit work another day in their life because we all have those days when we find ourselves saying, “Gawd, this job is awful – I can’t believe I have to clean up this mess!” It’s more about being ready to learn a whole new process and a whole new technology, and being a “great advocate” for ourselves and the people around us.
Go beyond “smoke and mirrors”
Let’s face it, lawyers tend to think that there is some sort of magic in what we do (although that is true in a number of cases!). But many of our small daily tasks are at least partially automated. Take for example digital tools like contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions. Without this software, you are going to take an enormous amount of time and energy to generate, finalize, store and manage complete agreements. In addition, you will be overwhelmed by departments within other companies that are using digital tools to their maximum.
This really is the goal of modern legal technology: to reduce the amount of mundane legal work, in particular, while reducing the workload of the department and even the entire organization. We no longer want to manually review standard contracts and extract key obligations (as opposed to, say, custom candle making!).
Avoid these legal surprises
No lawyer likes surprises. We are, in fact, quite “anti-surprise”. One of the reasons is that we want to have all the answers and tell our colleagues and clients what they should and should not do, legally and operationally. Therefore, the reason why I’m so fascinated with legal technology – and I encourage legal and related professionals to embrace the latest technology – is its simple ability to help us know what’s going on, to provide information. best advice or advice (and hopefully avoid the dreaded late-night surprises!). For many of us, that also means serving as strategic leaders and transformative personalities within the company.
You also don’t have to be a tech expert – say a computer scientist or a programmer – to use technology in all areas of law. You just need to have a genuine will to embrace it, implement it, and learn it.
Priority to positive disturbance
I must admit that I have always enjoyed exploring brilliant new technologies, discovering how they affect me, professionally, and how they can potentially impact the practice and application of law. But I also recognize that the rapid advancement and adoption of legal technology is event simply because it is necessary happen. We no longer live in a world where we write a paper with a fountain pen and conduct research by candlelight (again, unless we make these pens and candles by hand!)
More importantly, when everything is taken into consideration, corporate lawyers must create a better future for themselves and for the profession itself. We lawyers must continue to learn and evolve, and discover or forge new avenues through advanced technology. We must free ourselves to do what we absolutely love – and without a doubt do the best – as legal practitioners. After all, with growing expectations from legal teams and increasing internal legal budgets, there is a major opportunity for lawyers to invest in AI technology, in particular, to streamline the most repeatable tasks and simpler, receive much more in-depth information – and ultimately focus on positively disrupting corporate legal services.
But actually downloading and spreading the breadth and depth of Facebook? Well, artificial intelligence can Probably help him now too!