In our latest 60 second interview Kate Tyers, legal director at Ricardo, talks to The Lawyer about how best to introduce and use legal tech in an in-house team.

Kate is one of the 100+ attendees joining us on 19th March at the Legal Transformation Summit.

If you were a General Counsel looking to implement legal tech for the first time, what would be your first step and why?
Work out what you are trying to solve? What are the problems? Don’t be tempted to start with the solution to fix potential problems. You will have a high chance of failure if you do.

Are you trying to save money, make the legal function more efficient, or something else?

Carry out a due diligence exercise, gathering thoughts from the legal team and the business to find out what the problems are and what could be optimised. Only with this information can you work out how you can solve the problem.

What is key to boosting efficiency within an in-house legal team?
We all want our legal teams to thrive.

I see there being three zones people and teams can be in. The “thrive” zone is the optimal zone – lots of interesting work, manageable amounts of stress but not too much stress or work. Next is the “burn-out” zone. We have all heard a lot about this zone, particularly after the pandemic. This is when someone has too much work and/or stress. Finally, there is the “bore-out” zone. This can be nearly as bad as burn-out. In-house teams are often plagued with low value, repetitive and administrative type tasks. People become really unmotivated, under-stimulated but still need to plough through this work which can lead to “bore-out”.

To avoid burn-out and bore-out, we can engage legal tech. It can take out so much of the low risk/low value and administrative work as well as helping with the first pass of contracts using AI. When people are in the thrive zone they are most effective.

What tips can you share on securing investment in legal tech from the business?
Know the problems (after conducting due diligence) and how you are going to solve them (by working out which legal tech is right for your business).

Why do you need the legal tech? Will it mean the SLAs with legal will reduce? Will it prevent you needing further headcount in X time? What else?

You are likely to need sign off from the CFO. They think in numbers rather than words(!)

You need to obtain some tangible examples of how you will save costs.

Do some time recording (sorry!) on how long it takes to do an NDA; other types of agreements; having something signed, scanned and saved in the right place. Ask for the same from a couple of legal tech providers so you can show the cost saving.

Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
My Dad – he wanted my siblings and I to have a better education than he had as a child. He and my mum moved us to an area with better (state) schools. Throughout my career he has provide an extremely important soundboard for me and acted as a coach and mentor, particularly through some more challenging times! He’s an all-round legend!