73% of the head of legal departments of large companies assure that they do not currently use Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in the processes of their department, but many recognize the potential value that it could bring them in the early evaluation of cases, the analysis of contracts, understanding big data sets, and issues related to mergers and acquisitions. This is stated in the third part of the report The General Counsel Report 2022: Leading with Endurance Through Risk, Culture and Technology Challenges, prepared by FTI Consulting in collaboration with Relativity. Respondents have discussed technology trends within their departments, including the state of digital transformation, as well as how in-house lawyers rate themselves and their peers on technology competency.
According to Javier García Chappell, managing director of FTI Consulting’s Technology services in Spain, “the report shows a growing concern among legal directors due to the proliferation of new sources of information (emerging data sources) and the implications of a teleworking that has lasted over time. Legal teams must be prepared for an increasingly varied influx of data and the impacts it will have on privacy, security, regulatory compliance, investigations and e-Discovery”.
Thus, 97% of the legal directors of the companies play some role in the technological ecosystem of their organization, and 87% state that they are very involved in the planning and acquisition of technology, beyond providing budget approval. Another piece of data that stands out is the participation in technological decision-making, which increased by 13% compared to the previous two years, due to the improvement of the role of the general advisor or the appointment of more personnel.
The pandemic has acted as an accelerator of technological initiatives in 43% of organizations, and a third of legal directors state that they already have roadmaps to support their departments by implementing advanced technologies and updating main systems.
Only 33% of respondents agree that lawyers have adequate technological knowledge and skills. This figure is 20% lower than the previous year’s study, and many respondents said they believe – given rising levels of data risk and the demand for legal department efficiency – that the need for technical expertise is greater than ever, and some of them consider it a critical area.
For José Piñeiro, senior managing director of the Forensic-Litigation Consulting services of FTI Consulting in Spain, “given the trends in data and new risks that we are seeing in our clients, the legal managers of the companies are increasingly aware of the need for technological training. At the same time, they also realize that they need to incorporate resources in this field to be able to adequately respond to the challenges and possible impacts of new emerging information technologies”.