The legal industry has been experiencing a significant shift in recent years, with the adoption of legal technology becoming increasingly prevalent.
Law firms and legal departments are exploring various tools and platforms to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and enhance client services.
However, not all legal technology implementations are successful, and it is crucial for organisations to recognize when a particular solution is not working and pivot quickly.
This article discusses the concept of ‘failing fast’ in the context of implementing legal technology and explores strategies for identifying and addressing unsuccessful implementations.
The ‘Fail Fast’ Approach
The ‘fail fast’ approach is a concept that has gained traction in the technology and startup world. It is based on the idea that it is better to quickly identify and address failures rather than investing time and resources into a project that is unlikely to succeed. By embracing this mindset, organisations can learn from their mistakes, iterate, and ultimately find the most effective solutions.
In the context of legal technology implementation, the ‘fail fast’ approach means recognising when a particular tool or platform is not delivering the expected results and taking swift action to address the issue. This may involve adjusting the implementation strategy, exploring alternative solutions, or even abandoning the technology altogether.
Strategies for Failing Fast in Legal Technology Implementation
Set clear objectives and success metrics
Before implementing any legal technology solution, it is essential to establish clear objectives and success metrics. This will provide a benchmark against which the effectiveness of the technology can be measured. Be specific about the goals you want to achieve, such as reducing the time spent on document review, improving contract management, or enhancing collaboration among team members.
Conduct thorough research and due diligence
Before committing to a particular legal technology solution, conduct thorough research and due diligence to ensure that the tool or platform is the right fit for your organisation’s needs. This may involve evaluating multiple solutions, seeking input from stakeholders, and considering factors such as cost, ease of use, and integration with existing systems.
Implement in phases and monitor progress
Rather than implementing a new legal technology solution across the entire organisation at once, consider rolling it out in phases. This allows you to monitor progress, gather feedback, and make adjustments as needed. Regularly review the success metrics established at the outset to determine whether the technology is meeting your objectives.
Foster a culture of open communication and feedback
Encourage open communication and feedback among team members throughout the implementation process. This will help to identify any issues or challenges early on, allowing for swift action to address them. Be receptive to feedback and willing to make changes based on the insights gathered.
Be prepared to pivot or abandon the technology if necessary
If, despite your best efforts, a legal technology solution is not delivering the expected results, be prepared to pivot or abandon the technology altogether. This may involve exploring alternative solutions or re-evaluating your objectives and success metrics. Remember that the goal is to find the most effective solution for your organisation, and sometimes this means recognising when a particular technology is not the right fit.
Learn from failures and iterate
Embracing the ‘fail fast’ approach means being willing to learn from failures and iterate on your legal technology implementation strategy. Analyse what went wrong, identify the root causes, and use these insights to inform your future technology decisions. This continuous improvement mindset will help your organisation stay agile and adapt to the ever-evolving legal technology landscape.
Implementing legal technology can be a complex and challenging process, but adopting a ‘fail fast’ approach can help organisations minimise the risks and maximise the benefits. By setting clear objectives, conducting thorough research, implementing in phases, fostering open communication, and being prepared to pivot or abandon a technology if necessary, organisations can increase their chances of success in the rapidly evolving world of legal technology.
Ultimately, the key to successful legal technology implementation lies in embracing a culture of continuous improvement, learning from failures, and iterating on strategies to find the most effective solutions for your organisation. By adopting the ‘fail fast’ mindset, law firms and legal departments can stay agile, adapt to change, and harness the power of legal technology to drive innovation and growth.
Emily Cox is an employment associate & legal technologist at Womble Bond Dickinson. She works within the Legal Solutions Centre that sits within WBD Advance WBD Advance | Smart Legal Solutions | Womble Bond Dickinson. Her role encompasses assisting with legal operations, innovation and knowledge management