In this interview with Corporate Counsel Business Journal, Alexandra Guajardo, Pricing & Analytics Officer at Shell, and Jared Applegate, Chief Legal Operations Officer with Barnes & Thornburg, discuss the challenges and opportunities inherent in legal technology solutions.
“We’re looking at tools that either streamline our processes or provide us data that allow us to make decisions faster,” Guarjardo says. “The problem is that there are about 5,000 new technologies out there. For us, it’s not about just having another tool. We are looking at technology that will make us more efficient and effective.” Adds Applegate, “I believe people are going back to figuring out what are the top two or three process problems they have, and whether technology can be used to solve them. I know that’s not revolutionary by any means, but I just feel that the muck and mire of all the software out there is finally starting to get sorted into vaporware, niche, and practical tools usable by attorneys and legal ops professionals.” Applegate strongly believes lawyers need to focus on business challenges and the use of tech to overcome them. “The industry doesn’t do a good job of selling that,” he says. “Firms have project managers or talent that’s focused on practice systems or practice innovation. But are those individuals going to client meetings and pitch meetings? Are they putting together full-service solutions? Not many are. But I think more firms are going to be thinking about business solutions to the challenges facing their clients’ businesses over the next three or four years.” Guajardo chimes in. “One reason there’s hesitation around technology is because people are not always confident in what the output will be,” she says. “When we highlight successes via those outputs, then confidence grows. But it’s not always successful. Some of our big firms bring in technology to conduct our large projects and we’ve seen it go very well in some places, but we’ve also seen it come back and be extremely generic and not a great work product. It still needed that human touch.” Read more at CCBJ.