Women in LegalTech at Legartis: Vivienne
The digital transformation is moving along innovation in the legal sector. However, the daily tasks of legal staff in companies still have great potential for optimisation. Vivienne, product manager at Legartis, knows what goes on behind the desks of many legal counsel. She also knows how much LegalTech could reduce the workload of the legal department and make collaboration with other departments more efficient.
In our blog series "Women in LegalTech", we feature the female members of the Legartis team. In this post, Vivienne answers the questions of whether the legal industry needs to reinvent itself in the face of digitalisation and what role her work at Legartis plays in this.
Is digitisation catalysing a major shift in the legal industry?
A shift may sound like an ad hoc change, but really it’s more of a gradual transformation. This process is similar to introducing new technology into our private lives: we discover a new app that makes everyday life easier, we get accustomed to it, and eventually we use it every day. After a while we can’t — and don’t want to — live without it, because of how helpful it’s been.
As such, digitisation is more of an imperceptible process. Only when we look back in a few years will we realise how much has changed because of it and how far this transformation has progressed… and perhaps that we can’t even imagine life without Google Maps, Netflix or Spotify anymore.
How can LegalTech move this digitisation along?
Of course, the process of introducing new technology into a company involves a few more challenges than downloading a new app on our phones. It’s not quite as direct and simple. The integration process has to be much more thought out and planned than is the case in private life, and as a result, this transition becomes somewhat more complex. There are also economic considerations hiding behind a decision to invest in new technologies like LegalTech.
But in the end, LegalTech is just like any other application; once employees see that their daily workload can be made much easier and smooth-running, they’ll no longer want to live without it.
Does using LegalTech mean that legal departments have to fundamentally reinvent themselves?
No. Using LegalTech won’t cause the work of corporate counsel to be completely turned upside down or changed from one day to the next. Rather, LegalTech ensures that lawyers can complete their work more easily and efficiently, therefore making better use of their time. LegalTech solutions should be developed in such a way that they can be easily integrated into lawyers' everyday lives.
In the long run, however, LegalTech will have a very strong impact on the way legal departments work. It should increasingly enable lawyers to turn away from the many repetitive tasks they encounter on the day-to-day, instead concentrating on more complex and thus value-creating legal tasks in the company. Take our solution from Legartis, for example. We digitise only a part of a company’s complete legal process. This alone makes legal work much easier without taking over the whole operation.
How exactly can Legartis help companies become more efficient?
We focus on a repetitive part of the legal work, the so-called pre-signing contract review. This process is still carried out analogously in almost all companies today; the basis for the decisions made by a company lawyer during contract analysis is regularly not standardised and not stored anywhere. Often important information is simply lost. For each contract, you practically have to start all over again and search through various documents for the right information.
At Legartis, we digitise these steps and automate the repetitive parts of this work that could also be done by a machine. This makes contract reviews not only more efficient, but also less frustrating.
In addition, our solution addresses an important nexus between the business and legal side of things. In most cases, business departments rely entirely on their legal colleagues to review contracts. But with our application, the most important legal knowledge is readily available to them at all times. Only in exceptional cases, when our solution cannot provide an answer, would they have to turn to the lawyers. This facilitates cooperation within the entire company.
As a product manager at Legartis, how can you help companies benefit from these advantages?
As a product manager at Legartis, it’s my job to determine the direction our product development is going in. I’m responsible for ensuring that our contract checker offers our customers ever greater added value. This requires a lot of interaction with our users and an in-depth understanding of the problems they face.
I fulfil these responsibilities in collaboration with several different teams. In this teamwork, I have a key role as coordinator and mediator between the different groups involved in product development. For this role I need knowledge from all areas, legal and technical — a combination I still find very fascinating.
When did you know that you wanted to work in the LegalTech industry?
I already noticed my interest in this area during my studies. I didn't do a traditional law degree, but rather a bachelor's degree in economics and law and later a master's degree in international law. In other words, I didn't follow the traditional career path to become a lawyer from the beginning because I didn't want to limit myself to one area.
During my first work experiences, I saw right away how inefficient the processes were that lawyers and jurists follow every day. I saw how much time is lost in correct documentation and bureaucracy alone, where you’re not even able to focus on the interesting part, the legal work itself. It became clear to me then how much potential for optimisation still exists in this professional field and that I wanted to play an active role in this optimisation process.
What advice would you give women who want to work in the LegalTech industry?
The best thing to do is to just try it out and see if you're interested. A good starting point for example is to take basic courses on topics such as computers, the internet, and coding. You can also find a lot of free learning materials online. In Zurich, there are even free coding courses for women (e.g. Ruby Monstas).
Female students should look around campus to see if there are student groups or events taking place within the world of technology. There are also often interesting summer programmes available where you can learn a lot quickly and gain access to the legal tech world (e.g. at Bucerius Law School in Germany).
For all female lawyers who are interested in LegalTech and already working in the legal field, my advice is to become active in your company. Unfortunately, the number of companies using LegalTech is still quite small, especially in Switzerland. So it can be of enormous value for the business if someone starts to promote LegalTech in their own company.