Header Title



business models, strategies and technologies

Legal practices ready to be rethunk

The path to disrupting the legal eagles’ cosy nests isn’t straightforward – there’s a mindset to change, too

There’s a general awareness that the legal trade is a fairly soft soon-to-be-gazumped target for digital disruption. Consider features like high fees, formidable barriers to entry, little obvious value provided and a general distrust/scepticism about what such companies actually do to justify their high fees and always-expensive offices.

Latin is still legal

Pactumize – love the name! – is a Swedish legal tech company that digitizes the preparation and management of business contracts and legal documents, enabling non-lawyers to create as well as negotiate contracts, without the involvement of legal departments in companies. They reckon this will help change the way large and medium-sized companies work with business law.

It might help, but it seems more like just one step on a longer journey. More a system for document management than for revolutionising processes and manpower requirements. Pactumize themselves realise this, positioning their service as a “cloud platform that enables you to digitalize your business law” – in all industries.

It’s probably a useful, cost-saving tool, but it’s not automation.

Navigating the unknown

One of the key “barriers to entry” that keep the lawyering industry exclusive, protectionist and expensively fee’ed is that they have a near-monopoly on being able to navigate the vast complex of changing legislation, legal requirements, local government regulations, contracts, affidavits and compliance requirements in all their millions of unpredictable combinations.

A bit of digitalisation and automation of repetitive processes is OK, because it boosts efficiency. But it’s long been a knee-jerk gospel that this non-digital world of ridiculously complicated, old-fashioned legal documents, often in paper form, should be able to keep legal practices fairly safe from being up-ended by modern technology and smart new business models.

But now AI is enabling computers to automatically read, interpret and match legal documents in their millions, with algorithms working 24/7/365 on finding and identifying patterns, matches and sequences … The writing is on the proverbial wall.

Old habits die hard

I couldn’t help noticing how old legal habits die hard. When Pactumize explains itself, where it comes from and where it’s going, the sentences and paragraphs start piling up, and my humble reader’s attention starts dwindling.

Lawyers need to work on their communication skills, too …