UK Legal Departments are ‘behind the rest of the world’ in terms of tech

New Sharplegal research from Acritas, the world’s leading source of client and market research to law firms, reveals that where an organization is located will have an impact on the tech adopted by their legal department.  They warn that legal departments in the UK should be most concerned.

Market research experts Acritas have been investigating how innovation and technologies in the legal industry are evolving, based on first-hand experiences of over 2,000 senior in-house counsel.

The company analysed feedback on their 2017 global Sharplegal survey, and noticed there was a lot of focus on new technologies. So in 2018, their Sharplegal research began investigating this area further and quickly identified notable differences across geographies, in the technologies being used and not used by legal departments.

A number of different technologies were tested from virtual deal rooms through to AI.

25% of UK legal departments not using ANY tech

The latest research reveals that UK Legal departments are definitely falling behind the curve, with 25% not using any of the technologies Acritas investigated, compared to 11% in the US. In fact, UK in-house counsel are less likely to be using every technology tested in the Sharplegal survey.

Only 37% of UK legal departments use E-signatures

While E-signatures are commonly used in other aspects of UK business, they are not commonly used in the legal field.  This is not the case overseas.

E-signatures are used by 61% of US legal departments and 49% of Mainland European legal departments.  Only 37% of UK legal departments use them. Similarly, e-discovery is used by nearly four times as many legal departments in the US than their European counterparts. Lisa Hart Shepherd, CEO at Acritas said:

“We expected the US to lead on the use of litigation related technologies, but the UK is using less of everything we tested.”

However, the US wasn’t leading on everything, some new technologies were used more by European legal departments. For example, searchable knowledge-bases are used by 48% of legal departments working in European organizations, compared to 25% of US and 16% of UK corporate legal departments.

Lisa added:

“A lack of use doesn’t necessarily relate to an aversion. When under so much pressure to manage risk and drive up the value delivered by their corporate legal departments, change can be pushed back down the agenda. But for GCs looking to improve efficiency, understanding which technologies are working well for other legal departments around the world can be invaluable.”

To access Acritas’ benchmarking for Legal Departments, GCs or equivalent senior in-house counsel must complete a 25-minute Sharplegal telephone interview. Interviews can be scheduled by contacting Acritas via [email protected].