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Legaltech requires law firms and companies to make profound cultural changes

Lefebvre-El Derecho and ESADE launch a discussion series in Barcelona to examine the evolution and impact of innovation in the legal sector

ESADE’s Barcelona campus hosted the first session in a series of panel discussions on innovation in the legal sector. The series was jointly launched by Lefebvre -El Derecho and ESADE Law School with the aim of examining the changes currently sweeping the sector. The session dealt with the issue of legaltech, a coinage that refers to technologies and applications designed to bridge the gap between justice and citizens and to law firms’ use of technology to provide legal services, for internal organisational purposes, and to attract and retain talent. 

According to José Ángel Sandín, CEO of Lefebvre-El Derecho, the discussion series is another piece of his company's strategy to continue in the vanguard of legal innovation from a publishing perspective. ‘The Lefebvre-ESADE discussion series is intended to provide the sector with a more strategic and global vision of what is happening in the sector today and of how we can help law firms become more efficient and do their job better’, he explained.

The discussion series is being coordinated by Eugenia Navarro,a lecturer in Strategy and Legal Marketing at ESADE Law School, who noted that ‘the legal sector is experiencing one of its most interesting and challenging moments, with competition from firms that are struggling to differentiate themselves and deliver value, a value that involves helping their clients’ business directly.’

According to Ignasi Costas, a partner and Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at RCD – Rousaud Costas Duran, ‘Legaltech really is everything. There is a block of service providers that are having an increasingly large impact on legal services’. ‘The key is the change taking place in the relationship and interactions with the firm’s clients. And that change will only grow more pronounced. The more the lawyer can contribute to the value chain, the less likely he or she will be to disappear. You have to adapt and embrace change. You need to experiment and internalise the idea that you might make a mistake but that is OK’, he continued.

In this regard, Francesc Muñoz, CIO of Cuatrecasas, added that the old way of doing things is going to end. ‘Technology will modulate how certain processes are done in certain cases, and it will be very narrow. One need only look at contract review in mergers and acquisitions or the filing of Form 720 in the field of tax law’, Muñoz argued. ‘What matters is the cultural change and lawyers’ technological training, so that they know how to use and make the most of it.’

With regard to the role that technological changes are playing in the relationship between law firms and their clients, Isabela Pérez, a board member of Coca-Cola Iberian Partners, stressed that, from the point of view of business departments, value should be provided ‘based on thorough knowledge of the company’s value chain. In-house lawyers must provide value and contribute to sustainability, helping the company take decisions that are profitable in the long term. Law firms should support and guide us, be partners that really help us transform and do things better.’ Having tools that allow lawyers to participate in the contractual process in the rest of the company is essential, ‘corporate and collaborative tools that streamline processes and make them more valuable for the bottom line the company demands’, she concluded.