While the court system and broader legal profession is typically slower to adopt new technologies and digital tools, in recent years there has been a lot of change in the legal space – largely sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic, says software expert and engineer George Njoroge.
“In the tech space we saw a lot of people consolidating efforts towards using technology because they wanted to continue working but weren’t in their usual structure,” explained George, founder and CEO of Enfinite Solutions. “I’ve seen a lot of lawyers now wanting to have our software products in their office, managing their data and all of that. There have also been a lot of regulations coming through in terms of data protection, which is a growing trend.”
Enfinite Solutions is a Kenyan technology company established in 2007 that offers a digital legal platform for legal practitioners, with tools to save time and costs while better managing all relevant matters.
Along with specific all-in-one management software for small (EliteLaw) and medium- to large law firms (WakiliCMS) as well as in-house legal departments (EliteLegal), Enfinite Solutions provides business intelligence and data analytics tools, contract life-cycle tools to eliminate risks associated with poorly managed documents, and governance, risk and compliance software.
“One of the biggest opportunities for legal departments is increasing efficiency, because that means better cost and time savings,” said George. “But more than that, we see a lot of collaboration between various departments within organisations. So how do you bring all this data together in a consolidated way so every department knows what’s happening?”
With over 80% of law firms in Kenya and across Africa operating manually, George says there are many inefficiencies in processes across organisations. Legal technology and automation solutions can improve efficiency and communication, and speed up decision-making.
“For the longest time most departments tended to operate in silos, where everyone understands what they’re doing in their own department,” explained George, noting that legal technology can provide more collaboration and greater understanding of the bigger business picture for an organisation. “There’s also a big opportunity to mitigate risk and better ensure compliance across an organisation or business, because when all departments talk the same language, you’re not left exposed from one angle while covered in another.”
He emphasised that the collation, use and security of data is vital, for lawyers and clients, external or in-house.
George noted that the Kenyan courts introduced electronic filing in recent years, aiming to simplify processes for the judiciary and court users. “That has been a very big help to many lawyers and clients, as cases are lodged faster and cheaper. Now you don’t need to print volumes of documents just to bring them forward in court; all of this can be done electronically.”
Kenyan law reforms in 2020 also broadened the use of electronic signatures and e-document registration, including for real estate contracts and the disposition of interests in land.
Looking ahead, George believes it’s an exciting time for lawyers who embrace the legaltech evolution, as they will see increased efficiency, cost savings, enhanced risk management and greater collaboration.
To join Africa Legal's mailing list please click here