Australian In-House Lawyers Busier Than Ever But Stumped By Legal Tech Solutions

Australian in-house lawyers are busier as they play a bigger role in their organization and the needs of the COVID-19 pandemic, but lack the time, budget and understanding to implement legal technology tools that could help them a survey among Australian business consultants has found.

The Association of Corporate Counsel Australia’s 2021 In-House Counsel Trends report states that the role of in-house counsel will become more complex as the role shifts from traditional subject matter expert to trusted advisor and influencer to the wider business.

The report interviewed 212 respondents from various industries, government departments, and nonprofits.

Additionally, it was found that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies were entrusting their legal departments to manage increased cybersecurity issues, the safety and wellbeing of employees at home, and anticipate future pandemic risks.

While the report finds that technology and innovative delivery can support resource-poor legal teams, these solutions remain cautious and conservative. “Lack of time to examine options, lack of budget and satisfaction with existing models and service providers are key factors for the low technology adoption,” it says.

The legal technologies most commonly used by internal teams were electronic document archives and virtual data rooms (used by 18%); Document management software (17%); and contract management software (16%).

About a third of respondents said cost was the main barrier to adopting more legal technology; the time it would take; and lack of understanding.

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