At Legaltech in New York, I interviewed Ashley Legel, Enterprise Account Executive at NightOwl Discovery. Our subject was changes in the way law, business and technology interact and, sometimes, pull in different directions. I was interested to hear what changes Ashley Legel was seeing in the relationship between organisations, lawyers and external providers of services.
Ashley Legel said that internal automation represented both a challenge and an opportunity for organisations. They were, she said, going to have to learn how to use it and to reconcile the sometimes conflicting requirements of the business and its lawyers.
Ashley Legel gave Slack as an example of a tool which users learn to use quickly in order to communicate efficiently. The lawyers often get left out of the introduction of this and similar ephemeral technology when they really need to talk about them before they are introduced. The business users may want to use Slack but the lawyers would anticipate problems, not least with discovery. The more the lawyers clamp down on technologies like this, the more people will seek out new ways of communicating and so get further away from the responsible use of applications.
Organisations need appropriately skilled people to manage this kind of development. This, Ashley Legel said, is not necessarily a matter of recruiting externally, but of training those who are already working in the business.
To implement this kind of technology, you need governance policies both about using it and about getting the data out of it. Discussions like this are having the effect of bringing the lawyers more into the business.
I asked Ashley Legel who it was that influenced changes of this kind within organisations – where does this person sit within the organisation?
Ashley Legel said she was seeing more people with the word “innovation” in their job title. Another change which she is seeing is the willingness of organisations to sit down earlier with external partners.
Finally, the management of discovery and related subjects is changing. After a period in which many organisations wanted to build their own resources internally, they are increasingly sharing those challenges with external partners.