Africa’s legal technology journey has started, and tools that support the work of lawyers have become critical to running businesses more efficiently. In this conversation, Raphael Segal, CEO and founder of Legal Interact, and his colleague Leah Molatseli, the organisation’s Head of Business Development, tell Tom Pearson how this can be achieved.
The transition to digitising, infrastructure capabilities, and the technical language of legal documents are among the obstacles that prevent Africa’s legal community from effectively adopting the use of technology. Leah believes that narrative can change with education, coupled with implementation and monitoring.
“People are resistant to change, and one of the key drivers is if they are in a painful situation. It becomes painful for you to continuously be doing low value work – it takes away your time; and so making that effort to educate your client around the tech and the benefits, can be of great value.”
Leah says the problem is that hype around newly introduced tech solutions is often left as is, with no follow ups. She advocates building relationships with clients and tailormade solutions from vendors to make work more efficient.
The responsibility to lead the charge in embedding technology does not lie solely with the general counsel (GC), though, said Leah. “In legal departments the most obvious answer would be the GC. They face challenges, deal with the work, but in truth all the key stakeholders within a department, and even in the business itself, are going to make use of that legal tech solution in one form or another,” she commented.
Raphael eagerly told Tom of the developments that have been made since their previous conversation, including that the data needed to develop insights from, are now available and are starting to influence and assist the legal operation.
Raphael says what’s impressive about their legal tech solutions is seeing GC encouraging other departments and supporting them by providing instructions or data in certain formats that they can respond to timeously and appropriately.
The conversation with the guests ends with Leah’s projection on the percentage of law firms that will adopt specialist legal tech in the next five years. The good news is that robots will not entirely replace lawyers.
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