This is a great blog by David Wheeler of Verizon. There are many interesting comments, but the part I have highlighted relates to technology. We are seeing greater use of automation within in-house teams. In this case, Verizon has implemented AI over a period of 6 years, which has reduced its team of contract lawyers from hundreds to a handful. In addition, Verizon has also changed how it resources legal services; from agencies to an online matching/bidding platform which provides direct access to lawyers. These are revolutionary changes for an in-house team.
In-house teams have grown significantly over the last 10 years and although they are likely to continue to increase, such growth is not sustainable. We are working with in-house teams to help them consider how technology and working with different legal services providers can benefit their teams; not least because it can reduce costs and increases efficiencies, but it also ensures their legal team are spending time on the right projects, at the right level and adding genuine value to their businesses.
Technology has and will continue to shape the industry. In 2000, Verizon had hundreds of contract attorneys working around the clock reviewing paper documents. Six years later, our process had advanced to digital, but we still had hundreds of attorneys sitting at computers reviewing documents. By 2014, we shrunk that to a handful of attorneys using machine learning, which is quicker and more consistent than hundreds of random contract attorneys. Technology is also replacing staffing agencies; I can now open an app like Mplace and connect directly with contract attorneys. (Full disclosure: I am good friends with one of the co-founders of Mplace.)