11 July 2018 at 09:07 BST

Geography reflects technology use as UK legal departments lag behind

Survey reveals UK Legal departments less likely to use innovative technologies than counterparts in the US and globally.

Maksim Kabakou

Geography affects an organization’s use of technologies in the legal department, according to the latest Sharplegal research from Acritas. The survey discovered that legal departments in UK organizations are the ones which should be most concerned.

Definitely behind the curve

Market research firm Acritas investigated how innovation and technologies in the legal industry are evolving, based on first-hand experiences of over 2,000 senior in-house counsel. Analysing feedback on innovation, provided during their 2017 global Sharplegal survey, Acritas experts noticed there was a lot of focus on new technologies. In 2018, the Sharplegal research investigated this area further and quickly identified notable differences across geographies, in the technologies being used and not used by legal departments. A number of different technologies were tested from virtual deal rooms through to AI. Legal departments in UK organizations show definite signs of falling behind the curve, with 25% not using any of the technologies Acritas investigated, compared to 11% in the US. Furthermore, UK in-house counsel are less likely to be using every technology tested in the Sharplegal survey.

UK ‘less of everything’

E-signatures are used by 61% of US legal departments compared to 49% of Mainland European and 37% of UK legal departments. E-discovery is used by nearly four times as many legal departments in the US than their European counterparts. Lisa Hart Shepherd, CEO at Acritas, said ‘We expected the US to lead on the use of litigation related technologies, but the UK is using less of everything we tested.’ However, the US wasn’t leading on everything, some new technologies were used more by European legal departments. For example, searchable knowledge-bases are used by 48% of legal departments working in European organizations, compared to 25% of US and 16% of UK corporate legal departments. Ms Shepherd explained, ‘a lack of use doesn’t necessarily relate to an aversion. When under so much pressure to manage risk and drive up the value delivered by their corporate legal departments, change can be pushed back down the agenda. But for GCs looking to improve efficiency, understanding which technologies are working well for other legal departments around the world can be invaluable.’

 
   
 
 
 

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