Nordic Legal Tech Day 2020

Nordic Legal Tech Day is a joint event by ALTNordic (the Alliance of Law and Technology in the Nordics with LegalWorks Nordic in Stockholm, Laissa in Helsinki, IBF Legal in Oslo and Experticon in Copenhagen) which this year was held in an online format due to the current circumstances. It was nevertheless an afternoon full of inspiring and insightful presentations and discussions.

The day started with a key note presentation by Ritva Sotamaa, GC at Unilever about how to manage legal teams in the times of a pandemic.

The most important aspect that she pointed out was real-time and frequent employee connections via for example virtual town halls, tea breaks, learning week and even fitness session, all with an inclusion leadership. Ritva Sotomaa also provided interesting perspectives on technology strategy and adoption and leaderships lessons from her global journey. She wisely explained the importance of navigating in the legal landscape not being to risky and also not too conservative, to truly support the business

Henrik Duedahl Høyer, Experticon, then presented the results from the Nordic GC Report 2020.

As Henrik Duedahl Høyer pointed out, lawyers are used to dealing with uncertainties, so in a way 2020 has been an excellent year. But on the other hand, lawyers are not used to deal with invisible enemies. The top of mind issues identified in the report were how to ensure regulatory and legal compliance without impeding the business, how to increase the productivity of the company and the legal department, how to effectively manage outsourced legal services and how to improve the quality of services offered to customers and employees?

One clear trend in the report was the increased use of e-signing, which also Lisa Göransson, Allen & Overy, confirmed as rising trend in transactions in the following panel discussion where also Ryan Turner from Allen & Overy, Reino Hyvärinen and Rutger Lambriex from EY and Sandy Devine from Factor participated to discuss legal market developments and how new technology, new players and new customer needs and behaviors impact on the legal market.

Some of the trends mentioned in the discussion were the greater interest and appetite for legal tech to work remotely, the increase in alternative service providers and the unbundling of legal services where for example Allen & Overy nowadays always teams up with ALS in different elements of the transactions to provide cost efficiency for the client

In a next key note session, Richard Tromans from Artifical Lawyer gave an update on the latest developments in the world of legal automation and legal AI, and delivered some harsh truths. He particularly focused on the economical aspects of legal business and the value that human lawyers could and should add.

Or as he put it, “lawyers are basically pushing nails into the walls by using their fingers instead of using a hammer, because they are paid to do an inefficient job.” He also pointed out, that if a country has expensive legal services you have an access to justice problem, and that for any output that isn’t totally unique, we can improve the production of it. Change is necessary and can happen via People, Process and Technology. When it comes to people however, there is a limit to how specialized or efficient a human being can become. Therefore, it’s crucial for lawyers to understand that technology is not there to take your job away, it’s there to improve and facilitate your job.

Richard Tromans stressed the importance of looking at the wide variety of legal issues as activities where different legal services and products can be applied, measured and evaluated.

As a final word, he provided this advice to clients and law firms: