A progressive look at the world of legal

RIP Templates. Meet the data-driven contract drafting experience

They say data is gold. And they aren’t wrong. But we would like to add something to the saying though. Data is gold, and templates are old. Because although the data are available, we still see far too many organisations that build rigid templates for all types of contracts instead of actually looking for systems that make their database actionable. Although a good template approach is better than no approach at all, building those templates requires a lot of energy, time and effort, and in many cases only to end up in the deepest abysses of the law firm’s so-called ‘template library’ – a collection of templates based on the assessment and preferences of one or a few colleagues and that is quickly out of date. A very ineffective system is set up in the name of efficiency. It’s time for the data-driven contract drafting experience to take the stage.

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What is the value of legal? Why do people need it and how to price it?

For all the talk about the billable hour and whether it should stay or whether law firms will move to different pricing models (some have); we are still not seeing an industry-wide radical shift in pricing discussions. Why? I don’t believe it boils down to merely lack of will or trying, but because it requires a fundamental change in the way the legal industry places value on its work. 

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Law firms that push for change in billing models will be rewarded.

​​The time-worn "billable hour" business model has been a mainstay of the legal industry since the Second World War. While this model has been extraordinarily profitable for law firms, it has significant drawbacks. It shifts uncertainty to the client and thrives when lawyers work at a punishing pace, leading to burnout and an overall lack of well-being. It promotes working harder over working smarter by rewarding lawyers for maximizing hours billed rather than investment in processes and technology that could help generate the same high-quality work with high costs savings that could be passed on to clients.

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Value creation via legal technology

From the outset, I would like to clarify that "the legal profession" consists of different categories. I am active as a business lawyer. Hence, in this article, I speak from a business lawyer's point of view only. I assume that lawyers from other fields of law (for example, the "litigators", who do a lot of court work) may have a different input.

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