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Will your next new associate be a robot?

A panel discussion during the Balkan Legal Forum 2022

The transformation of the legal profession over the past 20 years and the trends that may define its future evolution represented the main theme of the 11th edition of the Balkan Legal Forum (BLF), a conference presented by the IBA European Regional Forum, the IBA Law Firm Management Committee and the Legal Development Foundation.

Cosmina Simion, Managing Partner at SIMION & BACIU was invited as a speaker in the panel titled “Will your next new associate be a robot?”, and shared her expert views on one of the topics that the legal profession has been exploring during the past years: the way technology is impacting (or advancing?) the activity of a law firm. 

The panelists aimed at answering to concrete questions such as:

  • What have been the experiences in deciding whether, when, and how to invest in advanced technology and AI in the production of legal services?
  • Are we really embracing and integrating advanced technology and artificial intelligence (AI) into law firm operations?
  • How to obtain benefits from legal tech?
  • What are the skills and investment required that would ultimately ensure the success of the implementation of a legal tech tool?
  • How to select the tool a law firm needs in different stages of development? How do we establish a balance between the mandatory core systems (practice management system, Document Management System (DMS), business analytics) and instruments that might be considered “nice to have” (AI for legal documents review, online collaborative tools, client extranets, funnels and document recovery)?

To this end, they shared their own experiences regarding the selections, deployment and management of a vast array of instruments designed for or tailed to the legal profession. The instruments mentioned during the discussion provide the necessary support for the provision of legal services, but also for the management of business processes relevant to a legal outfit.

The speakers detailed on their approach to “legal tech” in the context of key business principles or indicators such as risk management, operational impact assessment, assessment of return on investment (ROI), key performance indicators (KPIs) design and evaluation, usage motivation.

Also, they evaluated the potential impact that different scenarios regarding the relationship of lawyers with tech instruments, such as a full-scale implementation, a hybrid usage or the lack of deployment of legal tech, might have on the capacity of a legal team to align its approaches and to respond to the expectations of the current business community.

“The legal services industry is an integral part of the business ecosystem, at global scale. Currently, one of the key characteristics of this ecosystem is a propensity towards the adoption of tolls that increase work efficiency and embed business automation processes in the day-to-day activity of companies across industry sectors. This current state of the play puts the legal services industry, as one traditionally characterized by conservatism, on the spotlight. As lawyers, we need to be vividly aware of the transformation the global and the regional business ecosystems are experiencing. We need to boost our genuine desire to add value to our services including by embracing, to the extent feasible and relevant, new technologies. Swimming against the current may only result, in the end, in an exhaustion of our financial, intellectual, and human resources, with a direct impact on our professional performance”,

mentioned Cosmina during her interventions.

Cosmina detailed on the fact that the relationship the team at SIMION & BACIU built with legal tech tools is one that would position it as an “early adopter”. Also, she elaborated on some of the instruments used at SIMION & BACIU, such as i) an in-house developed document management system that increases the efficiency of our team and eliminates potential inaccuracies, and ii) two artificial intelligence-based tools that assist our lawyers and consultants in activities related to:

  • Trademark monitoring (namely, CompuMark by Clarivate, one of the global leaders in traded analytics), and
  • GDPR audits and data processing mapping (Sypher, a GDPR software platform).

An important feature of these instruments is that they can be integrated with the tools used by our clients and thus generate a substantial degree of precision, traceability, and uniformity of the processes under review. This makes SIMION & BACIU a law firm contributing in a concrete manner to the increase in efficiency of the legal and consultancy activity of our clients, with a significant impact on the productivity, budgets, and overall success of all parties involved.

The full agenda and the list of speakers of the BLF 2022 edition are available here.

More details about the International Bar Association and is various initiatives are available here.

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