Gartner’s legal Market Guide highlights the slow road to success

Gartner spent plenty of time in 2020 focusing on the legal tech market, and we look forward to more as 2021 kicks into gear. The research firm’s Market Guide for Enterprise Legal Management Solutions highlights the complexity some legal firms will face in automating their processes as part of increasing digital business efforts. BRYTER illustrates how it can be done without the time and expense.

The legal field is coming more under the spotlight of technology analysts as the global business digitizes its many services. Gartner’s analysts highlighted trends and emerging technologies in a fresh legal tech Hype Cycle and in their latest research from Nikos Drakos, “Market Guide for Enterprise Legal Management Solutions” (link, subscription required). It helps enterprise IT planners understand the myriad of software solutions across this fast-growing market, and the benefits and pitfalls of adoption of the many new technologies including legal automation, AI and analytics.

The trouble for legal IT is that, as the report highlights, few products meet all their needs, and that adoption can take too long when it comes to finding the right product or combination of them to solve a businesses’ pressing issues. All of which can leave legal professionals twiddling their thumbs or using outdated resources or a collection of incompatible tools to get things done while waiting for IT to deliver a new solution.

What businesses need now are AI services that help automate and add intelligence to processes for use cases like due diligence and contract risk analysis. Legal process and services automation helps in these areas, while businesses themselves look for broader digitization and distribution of key knowledge across the organization. As growth in self-service applications, chatbots and no-code solutions help make digital solutions more accessible to lawyers and professionals, relying on IT departments for the heavy lifting will decrease.

About Market Guides

Underpinning this research is Gartner’s assumption that “By 2023, 33% of corporate legal departments will have a dedicated legal technology expert to support the increasing automation of core in-house workflows.” They will help business leaders and operators understand the technologies and how they interact with legal operations and workflows. But what about today, and what about the other 67%?

The report highlights that over 50% of deployments are taking place in the US market, with around a third in Europe. It also shows that cloud adoption is growing fast with on-premises deployments down from 28% to 21% since 2019, as technology helps address the broad range of legal pressure points, as shown in the complex visual description below, a growing number of which can be addressed by BRYTER’s automation technology.

Key areas of business interest served by vendors include: e-billing control, legal matter control contract life cycle and IP management, while the vendor platforms increasingly offer automation, analytics, collaboration and document management as part of the package.

The report identifies a market seeing greater value from automation, supporting and guiding human decision making. However, the recommendations follow the well-trodden path for typical enterprise and business software deployment, so much so, you can almost feel the months and dollars flying past:

  • Establish an evaluation team.
  • Link the vendor selection process to appropriate use cases.
  • Use demos to identify the nuances of product and process.
  • Verify that the vendor’s products and services can deliver value.

All of which will help in the digital transformation that will see legal firms and departments view “enterprise legal management solutions as critical to the transformation of the legal department from a cost center to an essential and active business partner, one that drives business initiatives.” But might not help the business today.

How Gartner sees technology adoption in the legal world

We think that Gartner structures its view of the landscape on a clustering of applications from an end-user perspective and analyst assessment. The clustering is based on interviews and feedback Gartner gathers in the market – mostly by direct conversations with larger players. This view can skew toward traditional adoption and working patterns, avoiding or overlooking innovation until it becomes mainstream.

While there is nothing wrong with that approach for Gartner’s traditional customers, and it is recommended or essential in many regulated industries, for the legal professionals or their customers in need of solutions by this week or by year’s end, it leaves a vacuum of advice.

For legal teams that require tools to meet the upheavals of BREXIT, LIBOR, ESG among the shifting sands of the legal landscape, acting first outweighs the desire to research. BRYTER talks to many that work for companies that might not have endless IT resources, and there are plenty of examples where legal professionals struggle to explain their expertise or knowledge to an outside developer or general IT resource.

BRYTER’s customers understand the nuances of a legal problem and can address it without the need for costly IT resources, using no-code to build the solution that meets their needs.

What customers can do today with BRYTER…

For example, the fast-growing numbers of BRYTER customers leverage the platform to rapidly deliver tools that meet their pressing needs, improve legal business efficiency and create new business in a growing number of ways.

  • Legal chatbots: Legal chatbots might be slower in adoption than consumer/marketing bots. However, they are making an impact as legal businesses need to triage rising numbers of inquiries and directing them to other automated processes. (see our new Chatbot whitepaper for more on this subject)
  • Legal and compliance analytics: The business compliance role continues to expand at a hectic rate for practitioners. Distributing compliance knowledge and ensuring compliance through automated tools help these departments stay on top of fast-arriving legislation.
  • Data breach response: Data breaches are increasingly common and need to be dealt with at both a legal, IT and PR level. Legal response mechanisms can help a client prepare their actions and ensure compliance with breach regulations.
  • Subject rights requests: Growing privacy laws will drive huge growth in people filing SRRs, an easily automated task to reduce the workload on lawyers, while speeding up the process.
  • Third-party risk management: Risk management is a growing part of doing business with any entity and automation can help fill out the standard forms and provide common provisions.
  • Consent and preference management: Identifying a need for consent and tracking user data privacy preferences is a growing legal requirement across most consumer/business communications. Ensuring consent is given, while allowing users to revoke their consent and maintain records is a task suited to automated rules processing.

Summary: legal tech delivers solutions now

Many legal firms might look at this research and struggle to comprehend the depths of possibility and complexity in adopting some of the highlighted solutions. But, as with many business solutions, the pressing need to adopt technology will see them adopting small solutions first, such as a customer chatbot or easy form filling tool. And with every passing month they will see the benefits of technology, while partners and other experts will notice the rise in visibility of smart legal technology. As automation technology delivers productivity improvements, it frees up professionals for more valuable tasks and drives process improvements, who can share those experiences with others helping legal teams and departments adopt technology without fear and uncertainty.