Richard Mabey

Lawtech for in-house: Legal Geek + Crafty Counsel

Scaling legal
July 1, 2019

Legal Geek's events always get us excited - especially when we win awards - and with video gurus Crafty Counsel on board, we knew it would be a great evening with innovative thinkers coming together to find solutions to GCs' problems.

The pioneering legal engineers at Wavelength Law took the stage before us, with Peter Lee talking about key steps you can take to optimise legal in-house. Move through people, process and technology in that order; make sure your internal providers are communicating enough; start with the legal UX and report on all the data you gather. Visualising data to support the legal risk picture shouldn't be beyond legal - if sales can do it, why not legal? These steps can help move legal from a cost to a profit centre.

Video courtesy of Crafty Counsel - visit their website to find out more.

For our part, I wanted to talk about legal design. With an audience of GCs, I wanted to make it clear that legal design isn't an alien concept, nor a nice-to-have, nor something that's only applicable to giant companies with huge headcounts. Our legal design heroes make that clear:

Legal design is an innovation approach
- Margaret Hagan, Director of the Legal Design Lab at Stanford Law
Legal design borrows design thinking, and doing
- Stefania Passera, Information Designer, creator of Legal Design Jam
Legal design is a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach: lawyers not flying solo
- Emma Jelley, Senior Adviser, Fondia Oyj, former GC at Onfido and ex-Googler
Legal design puts the user at the center of the action
- Antti Innanen, CEO & Co-founder,

These are the principles that should inform good contract management. When we talk to in-house lawyers we often find that previous solutions might have had decent features and powerful capabilities under the hood, but died on the shelf due to a lack of adoption. Time and again this comes back to design as the main limiter in contract management solutions being adopted.

This was the first place to start when we built Juro. Lawyers are born and grow up in Microsoft Word, so we kept enough of the recognisable and comforting features of word processors. But beyond that, we looked to websites and rich content for inspiration, with buttons, smart fields, imagery and links.

The next layer is intuitive customisation, so users can make amends to contracts and push them around the workflow without needing to be shown how. And the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to putting users at the centre of the action is making the data machine-readable, so Juro can pull data that helps them make smarter decisions.

Super-smart technology, with AI bells and whistles dazzling everyone who sees the tool, is not the end in itself - because who cares?

Even micro-improvements like our Companies House integration make a big difference - users, especially non-lawyer users self-serving, gain confidence when they start typing a company name and the platform autofills the precise name of the legal entity. The odd emoji might seem jarring to a lawyer used to working in word, but to a new user to a software platform it reminds them of the other sites, apps and platforms they use personally - and hopefully brings a personal touch to a process that's often struggled to be human.

The point is not that super-smart technology, with AI bells and whistles dazzling everyone who sees the tool, is the end in itself. It's not - because who cares? Legal design is not just a question of who's got the best natural language processing. The only goals that really matter are non-tech related goals that are familiar to any in-house lawyer: saving costs, reducing non-compliance, driving better user adoption, improving the dynamic with the internal client, and a better user experience. We know design can help you get there - that's why we built Juro around it. It's great to see London's lawtech and GC communities coming together to find ways to improve that legal user experience even more.

Richard Mabey is the CEO and co-founder of Juro

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