Crossing the Legal Innovation Chasm

April 13, 2021
August 14, 2023

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As leading female innovators on the legal transformation curve, Anna Lozynski (General Counsel, L’Oreal Australia & New Zealand), Denise Doyle (Legal Transformation Lead, Telstra) and Jorden Lam (General Counsel & GM Commercial Affairs, HESTA), shared their successes, failures and learnings to help audience members cross the chasm with actionable takeaways at Checkbox’s Crossing the Legal Innovation Chasm event on Thursday 24 October 2019 in Melbourne.

Here are our top 3 takeaways from the event

Tip #1: Accept and communicate the value of automation.
Perhaps the most obvious starting point is to ensure that the lawyers recognise and accept the value for automation. There is often a fear of automation amongst lawyers. But as the phrase goes: ‘Technology won’t replace lawyers, but lawyers who use technology will replace those who don’t.’ Helping your lawyers understand the benefits and the impact of automation is a critical starting point, and explaining that not everything should and can be automated, only the low-value, manual work for which they are overqualified.

Jorden explained that the fear of ‘I don’t want my job automated because then I become redundant’ comes from the risk-averse and competition mindset that is developed by lawyers in private practice where they are conditioned to believe that there is limited work to go around and that they need to compete for this work. The last thing lawyers want to do is automate the work they own because they falsely tie their value to it. She stressed that in reality, there is so much stuff going on in the world and rapid change in every business context that this is an irrational fear that lawyers have.

“You’re kidding me? Really? You don’t want to automate NDAs because you want to sit there and review each and every single NDA that needs to be signed. As lawyers we are much more intelligent than that” said Jorden.

As a starting point, Anna asked herself: “what is the work that we do not want to do but is routine work that is necessary?” and focused on those for automation.

Anna shared that the first self-serve application they deployed at L’Oreal gave them a 35% dollar saving and took a process that used to take a week and reduced it to take just a day. She also shared that L’Oreal has now automated 70% of lawyer work yet the headcount in their legal team has increased 300%.

How can a legal team’s headcount increase 300% after automating 70% of the work?

Anna explained that as business environments get more complex, the problems become more difficult and more new age. The 70% of work that L’Oreal has automated was low-value and low-risk, which is the type of work that has been done in the past. She said that the amount of complex legal work is increasing, so by freeing up legal resources you can turn your focus to the increasing amount of strategic work.

Tip #2: Focus on the value to the business, not just legal.
Innovation initiatives that purely benefit the legal team will not go as far as initiatives that benefit the business. Lawyers are not well positioned in selling innovation internally, so it is important to appeal to the business. This will allow you to form a tribe of champions who are able to support and push the initiative through. The implementation of new technology may make the lives of lawyers better, but the sell here is how does it make the lives of the business better? Frame the value from the perspective of a business user, not a lawyer. And by extension, start with initiatives that are business facing so they can experience the benefit first hand.

“All of our self-service legal automaton tools up until now have been business facing. We pride ourselves on being able to say that we try to never hold up the business. So, at L’Oreal you can self-serve for legal services 24/7,” said Anna.

Jorden explained this as empathy: to put yourself in the shoes of other people in relation to the problem you are solving and understanding what’s in it for them. She shared that when HESTA tried to implement a contract management solution, it was positioned as a great solution because it helped the legal team find documents more easily. This didn’t get the level of buy in required because this wasn’t a pain felt by the business. Learning from that experience, Jorden advised that you need to spend more time engaging with the business and explaining how initiatives will affect them. For example, finding documents more quickly means shorter turnaround times for legal services.

Denise also shared an example from Telstra where the process of reviewing marketing material was re-engineered to push some of the work from the legal team back onto the business. The lawyers were happy but needless to say, this was met with resistance by the business. To resolve this, Denise simply reversed the value proposition and focused on the benefits for the business such as avoiding the legal bottleneck by enabling self-serve, rather than the time savings for legal.

Tip #3: Bring people on a journey because legal innovation affects humans.
Once you’ve convinced your own legal team that you need to change, you now need to convince the rest of the business. Legal transformation isn’t just about coming up with ideas, redesigning processes and selecting the right technology. It is also about people and change management. This is emotional and requires taking people on a journey, rather than expecting them to accept change through a big bang moment.

Change is also heavily tied to Jorden’s obsession with empathy. You must consider how innovation in the legal function might make others feel in other parts of the business and address those accordingly. Anna puts this into practice by always thinking about how to get someone to ‘yes’. This requires knowing your audience. For example, how you pitch to the CFO is very different to how you pitch to the heads of business units.

Denise advised that regardless of whether it’s 5 or 500 people, every person affected by the change need to understand why you are doing to it, understand how they can contribute and know the end point. She stressed that it is about the journey and ensuring clarity.

As humans, we all have triggers and factors that stop us from doing things. To be successful in change management, you need to understand each person’s triggers and address them.

Denise also shared that a past failure of hers came from believing that the project would be successful because of one positive meeting where everyone was nodding their heads. Instead, you must constantly check in with those involved, continue to clarify their role in the project, be clear on what is being delivered and remind them what’s in it for them.

How Checkbox Facilitates Legal Automation

To simplify the digitalisation process Checkbox offers a simple and intuitive drag and drop platform that allows subject-matter experts such as lawyers to do more with less by automating their intake and triage, document generation, decisioning, and workflow processes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is technology used in legal?

Legal uses technology to enable legal teams to streamline, automate and measure legal work. Through legal automation, teams are empowered to create self-serve and self-help tools for their clients.

What is digital transformation in law?

Legal transformation isn’t just about coming up with ideas, redesigning processes and selecting the right technology. It is also about people and change management.

Checkbox Team

Checkbox's team comprises of passionate and creative individuals who prioritize quality work. With a strong focus on learning, we drive impactful innovations in the field of no-code.

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