Is Software Still Eating the World?
The next generation of legaltech will change the way we buy and provide legal services by changing what we think of as a legal service . It will also change who we see as expert providers.
Regtech is a big part fintech and a big part of SthlmFintechWeek.com. This year the organizers expanded the track to include legaltech with the help of Richard Rosenholtz from the Nordic Regtech Association and Nicholas Hawtin.
Software is Eating the World: the panel discussion featured Kira Unger and Olga Beck-Friis of Pocketlaw, Helena Hallgarn of VQ, Søren Nielsen from Whyyy, and Anders Perméus of Pactumize. They represented a cross-section of legaltech, both in age and experience, as well as the services they provide.
Study after study shows that companies that change an industry are often new companies that do things differently. Our panel of legal innovators all represent new companies, and they were invited to explain what they do differently.
How do today’s legaltech providers deal with the usual processes and mindset of the legal profession?
Pocketlaw uses a digital platform to provide business law advice and focuses on startups. The founders, Kira and Olga, come from management consulting and big law respectively, and they’re digital natives. VQ works to digitize the legal sector and co-founder Helena was one of the first in the Nordics to push for the law to embrace technology. Whyyy is a digital consultancy and Søren, their CEO, works closely with law firms to identify their needs and create solutions. Pactumize focuses on contract automation and digital processes. Anders, CEO and co-founder of Pactumize, was a co-founder of one of the original nordic legaltechs, Avtal24.
Both this panel and the previous panel discussions shared the challenge of explaining the limited digitization of legal to an audience that not only accepts the potential of technology, but embraces it. They explained that while some companies are going digital, the majority of the industry is waiting for conclusive evidence. This presents an obstacle most startups don’t face: legaltech providers often have to help the customer understand that they need help.
The initial key takeaways were therefore:
- Define the problem clearly (we dont know the customers need, we have to ask)
- Lawyers often don’t know what they don’t know — i.e. that they have a problem. Help them understand the problem, so you can help them solve it.
- Understand how lawyers think and work before designing anything.
These initial learnings play into the strengths of modern digital service providers, especially their focus on the customer and the customer’s needs.
These companies understand what the clients want, because they are in constant dialogue with the clients and the users - and the legaltech providers are always focused on solving the customers’ pains.
This might sound to many people like what lawyers ought to be doing already, but it’s not always the case. Lawyers are trained to focus on getting the law right. Sometimes this can lead to conflicts with the bigger picture or the full context.
Getting complete alignment can be complicated, so try starting with these 3 steps.
- Analyze the problem thoroughly from start to finish, including all of the stakeholders.
- Define the goals clearly and realistically.
- Start by doing one thing really well. And solve that one problem really well, before going on to the next.
The panel provided great examples, sharing how their customers often need help to identify and define their challenges.
The natural reluctance of a conservative profession was a recurring theme, as were solutions and insight into how to work with rather than against this reluctance.
STHLM Fintech Week was a great platform for promoting legaltech to a non-legal audience. The people in the room were ready to listen to how legaltech solutions add value throughout the value chain.
Expanding knowledge of legaltech’s potential and how to integrate that potential into various industries makes it possible to provide better legal services to a much bigger market. We like helping make that happen. Software is definitely still eating the world.
Find key takeaways from another legaltech panel: The changing role of inhouse counsel and more legaltech knowledge sharing & articles on our profile Medium.com/thinklegaltech
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