Which obstacles do legaltechs face?
Shayesteh, Acosta and Flórez review some of the obstacles that lawyers face with legaltech
The paradigm facing lawyers and law firms today can be difficult without understanding the importance of technology in this sector. Legaltech is emerging within the legal sector and many lawyers, used to working with non-technological methods, do not understand the economic opportunities they hide.
Through a webinar organised by The Impact Lawyers, German Florez (president of the Colombian Legaltech Association Alt+co), Abdi Shayesteh (founder of AltaClaro) and Daniel Acosta (founder of Legalnova) discuss the obstacles facing lawyers running legaltech.
Florez believes that the legal sector is in a period of change and this can lead to obstacles for lawyers, as a result of the formality that prevails in their profession.
The first obstacle is the change in the mentality of lawyers, specifically. Lawyers are very formal. And changing the way they promote and sell their services is no easy task.
In case of those firms that are successful over the years, they will hardly ask themselves whether to change the way they provide legal services. And this is an obstacle.
Changing the way legal services are provided has a lot to do with the firm's innovation, which may involve creating legal innovation, technology law or legal design departments.
Today's companies deliver services in a clear and efficient way. And this can be seen in FinTech and RegTech companies, among others, demonstrating that innovation is a service that many companies are offering.
Florez also explains that innovation has to start in universities. Law school professors need to teach about legal innovation and technology law. And this teaching needs to be provided in all branches of law.
Finally, Florez recommends companies within the legal sector to have legaltech departments, to offer better services to clients and to use technology to set better corporate goals.
Shayesteh agrees that universities are a good starting point for transforming the mindset of lawyers. His firm, Altaclaro, works with several law schools, teaching students certain skills. He also comments that it is not easy to introduce these teachings in law schools, and that entrepreneurial and technology-savvy profiles are needed within universities.
Another aspect highlighted by Shayesteh is the exceptional situation in the aftermath of the pandemic. Law firms are more concerned about how to become more efficient. It is a good time to implement these changes in universities and law firms.
Acosta, in addition to agreeing with the above, believes that teaching on issues related to innovation and technology needs to be taught in other faculties such as economics.
With regard to change, Acosta believes that it has accelerated especially after the pandemic and that the legal sector is immersed in the digital revolution.
One of the obstacles facing lawyers is that knowledge of technological issues is not a final step, it is only an action to achieve certain objectives. In other words, technology does not guarantee business success.
Lawyers talk a lot about technology (blockchain, artificial intelligence), but they do not talk about how important the value proposition of these technological tools is.
If lawyers start to see legaltech as a stepping stone to innovation and innovation as a process. Lawyers need to have clear business strategies.
From his experience, Acosta believes that lawyers, like other professionals, are afraid of change, as they do not know what the future holds. And that fear paralyses change.
Another barrier is the technological culture. In other words, the lack of interaction between lawyers and technology engineers can be a hindrance to legaltech. Thanks to the interaction that lawyers can have with technology engineers, uncertainty about the future can disappear.
Finally, Acosta says that one of the consequences of the new paradigm in the legal sector is the fixation of clients as central actors in the legal business. In the past, lawyers only thought about the law and themselves, and did not think about clients. And clients demand efficiency, technology, new methods of delivering services. And lawyers have to start thinking about that and why technology can help them in their work.