ACC: legal teams in favour of technology but with reservations

The “2022 Trends in Legal Transformation and Technology Report shows that while legal departments have made progress in their digital transformation efforts, the results indicate that there is still significant margin for improvement in internal processes. While tech digitization is having a profound impact on the legal industry, a majority of legal professionals say they are falling behind when it comes to implementing crucial transformation initiatives. This is one of the key findings from a new legal transformation survey report released today by The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) and DISCO, operating in AI-enabled legal technology.

Legal departments that prioritized adopting technologies for improving internal investigations are realizing the clear benefits, including improved productivity, mitigation of privacy and security risks, reduced costs, and better chances of favorable litigation outcomes. But even with these clear technology-driven benefits, survey findings showed that 70% of legal departments and in-house teams have not prioritized adopting technologies for improving key automation and data management processes.

The report captures analysis from over 270 law department leaders and legal operations professionals, and derives insights into the current state of technology adoption and innovation. The data shows enterprises and organizations how they can better navigate their transformation journeys, leverage new technologies to reduce overhead costs, and drive greater efficiencies in their ediscovery work.

Additional key findings from the survey include:

  • Information governance and data management are top transformation initiatives departments are investing in today – 65% of departments reported these as the most important, followed by 47% of respondents indicating legal project management initiatives as an investment priority.
  • Departments are split on tech-related decision making – 45% of legal professionals feel their departments are not prioritizing technology-rated decisions like they need to be doing.
  • Budgeting concerns have become one of the main barriers to transformation – Among departments that have prioritized transformational change, 35% indicate that rising costs and lack of budget is a primary concern, with the number quickly rising.
  • Talent and technology interoperability are keys to success – 76% percent said that getting the right mix of talent is the most important area for departments to serve the growing demands of the business.

ACC and DISCO’s report uncovers crucial findings on how legal professionals are integrating new technologies into their day-to-day work, including data analytics tools, reporting software, information governance, automation, ediscovery, and legal project management initiatives.

“Over the last couple years, legal departments have had to deal with numerous pressures impacting both the scope of work and how they are meeting these additional demands,” said Blake Garcia, Senior Director of Business Intelligence at ACC. “It’s no secret that technology is playing a key role for many professionals, and this report takes that idea a step further by providing specific insights into how tech is being leveraged and deployed, its keys to success, and which specific adoption challenges remain. I appreciate our collaboration with DISCO to develop this useful report so law departments can benchmark their technology approach and identify an appropriate path forward.”

“The legal industry continues to make progress towards embracing change, and the study shows that while many agree on the key imperatives, there continue to be discrepancies when it comes to priorities, budgeting, and internal decision-making,” said Andrew Shimek, Chief Revenue Officer at DISCO. “This research points directly to what we’ve been hearing from our Fortune 100 clients, namely that legal departments are faced with increased pressure to reduce costs and generate greater operational efficiencies. The data makes clear that by prioritizing transformation investments and initiatives, it can have a tangible impact on teams and their ability to drive better legal outcomes.”