This report was compiled in a robust process, commencing with three months of in-depth research by Eventful People, and including in-person research groups in Cape Town and Johannesburg. This was followed by the digital surveying of lawyers across the continent. The findings of the report will now frame the backbone of the cutting-edge agenda planned for the Legal Innovation and Tech Fest which will be hosted at the Maslow Hotel, Sandton, Johannesburg on June 8 and 9 2020. Africa Legal is the event’s official ‘Intelligence Partner’.
Lawyers and innovators from leading law firms and corporate legal departments such as Adams & Adams Attorneys, BDO South Africa, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, Bowmans, Standard Bank, Dentons, Stellenbosch University and Webber Wentzel contributed to the report through participation in the research groups which were designed to understand how technology and innovation in law can drive the profession.
More than 100 organisations operating across 24 African jurisdictions engaged with the research process.
Seven broad themes were identified as core issues for the legal community to reflect on and these are to form the basis for the upcoming event agenda in 2020:
Navigating the Maze of Legal Technology – Past, Present & Future
(Understanding what technology is currently available, discovering when you use what and cutting through the legal tech ‘noise’)
Change Management and User Adoption
(The vital importance of user experience in legal tech, developing a culture of trust and openness and embracing the power of ‘design thinking’)
Embracing Technical and Process Innovation
(Technical versus process innovation, innovating for social justice and how to identify your business’s innovation champions)
The Future of Law, Legal Talent & Rethinking Operating Models
(Building the skillset to ensure future resilience and relevance, attracting and retaining the talent vital during an era of digital disruption and new legal careers)
Legal Technology Regulations, Ethics & Cybersecurity
(AI and Cloud regulation and ethics, people versus system in the cybersecurity battleground and data protection)
Deriving Value from Data & Determining ROI
(How data can demonstrate ROI, looking beyond pure financial to the experiential and human benefits of tech and using data to understand client needs)
Legal Services Pricing Structures & Cost Saving
(Enhancing law firm and client collaboration, the commodification of the business of law and innovations in pricing)
Wendy Bampton, co-founder of the African Professional Services Group, of which Africa Legal is a subsidiary, highlighted the need for such in-depth research and discussion on innovation in law.
“With so much coverage, discussion and ‘noise’ around the power of technology to transform and rapidly innovate the practice of law it’s never been a more important time to garner end-user generated insight. “Identifying the true realities and challenges across the continent will enable the legal profession to more effectively use technology in the delivery of more effective and accessible legal services.”
Through the partnership between Africa Legal and Eventful People, it is hoped that this research, paired with the event itself, will provide an opportunity for robust discussion, analysis and genuine change.
Thomas Pearson, Africa Professional Services Group’s Chief Commercial Officer, added that tech adoption by the African legal sector was an absolute necessity but not as challenging as sometimes perceived.
“The opportunity for individual law firms and legal departments to start implementing technology to drive innovation is already here. Extremely low-cost (and often free) solutions to drive efficiencies, notably in the areas of data management and process mapping, are instantly available. To avoid unnecessary delay, lawyers should consider dropping ‘legal’ from ‘legal tech’ and instead look to long-established business tech which has just as much applicability to the delivery of legal services.”
The 2020 Legal Innovation and Tech Fest provides an opportunity to unpack these issues, led by some of Africa’s top legal and tech minds, to network, share knowledge and have some fun!
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