An association of legal directors Cercle Montesquieu, leading business law firm CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats, and, consulting firm Day One have released the results of a joint study on the digitisation of legal departments.
The study offers a pragmatic insight into changes to legal departments in the face of increasing digitisation in France, particularly in the legal professions. The survey of 98 companies takes a qualitative as well as quantitative look at the challenges facing legal departments and the steps they are taking to embrace technological changes. The study shows legal departments acknowledge digitisation means major transformation in professional behaviour and working methods, and says respondents are clear about the difficulties still to be overcome, particularly in terms of adaptation time. The vast majority of the directors questioned consider that the French legal and institutional framework is favourable to digital developments, however. In digitisation of legal departments, priority is being given to electronic document management, contract management and company law.
The study concludes that legal directors want to see training for lawyers updated to fully prepare them for the use of the various digital tools and for project management. Legal departments are also planning for adoption of machine learning, natural language processing (NLP) and knowledge graphs, all three being aspects of artificial intelligence transforming the way in which legal cases are managed. The online study surveyed approximately 100 French legal departments between 27 September 2018 and 14 November 2018, followed by workshops and interviews with a smaller sample of respondents.