Legal tech, if applied correctly, can facilitate large parts of day-to-day legal work, whether in a company’s Legal Department, for individual lawyers or in a large law firm. The overarching goal is to simplify the handling of demanding legal processes, to increase work quality while saving time and minimising errors, and to realise efficiency benefits.
Legal tech tools can be used in many ways, explains Dr Thomas Hauss, partner at McDermott Will & Emery and responsible, among other things, for the area of legal tech. In particular, recurring, similar workflows and standard processes are suitable as a starting point for introducing legal tech, adds Dr Philip Uecker, legal tech lawyer at McDermott. For example, legal tech tools can assist in drafting certain pleadings, along with contracts or other docu-ments. In this way, less complex tasks can be handled more quickly and easily, larger amounts of work can be processed in less time and thus resources can remain available for more efficiently dealing with more complex issues and problems.
One tool that Hauss‘ and Uecker’s McDermott legal tech team regularly uses is the no-code platform BRYTER. The German start-up, which recently successfully completed a $66 million Series B financing round, offers a kind of no-code construction kit for lawyers. Its main advantage is that lawyers without IT or programming knowledge can “programme” their own legal tech tools according to the modularity principle.
Using BRYTER in the area of eLearning was obvious to McDermott as sound and efficient in many respects: the eLearning module can be combined with other modules (e.g. data protection management or contract generation) to create a customised legal tech solution for legal departments.
Introducing eLearning as part of a legal tech strategy is quite obvious. There are many areas of application for training and for offering continuing education opportunities to employees, including further training of a technical nature, instruction in technical programme innovations or – and this can be a significant focus – the implementation of compliance instructions. Companies are obliged to act in accordance with the applicable legal requirements and therefore must offer regular employee trainings to ensure compliance. eLearning offerings are particularly suitable for this purpose and can work in a company’s favour. For example, extensive compliance precautions within a company may be taken into account as a mitigating factor in the setting of fines by antitrust authorities these days. Proof that the company has trained its employees comprehensively and regularly can be very helpful in emergency situations, says Christian Krohs, antitrust partner at McDermott Will & Emery.
Experienced consultants like Krohs and his colleague Dr Anja Bertrand, who advise on compliance measures and develop content for compliance training and eLearning, are able to offer even better tailor-made solutions for their clients through eLearning. In order to optimise compliance programmes, they classify where identified “dangers” lurk. They then use that information to determine which content is particularly relevant to the company and its industry beyond the programme‘s “mandatory content” and where to concentrate compliance efforts. Within the company, eLearning can be used to focus on target groups and to provide different groups of employees with the specific compliance training they need. A sales employee, for example, needs different practical instructions on how to behave in compliance with regulations than an employee working in the Purchasing Department, explains Bertrand.
The advantages of a legal tech solution are clear to Krohs: eLearning content can be flexibly adapted at any time if, for example, legal innovations or changes in company requirements make a revision necessary or sensible. The platform also supports audio and video elements, and thus an interactive content design, bringing even abstract topics to life. For questions about content or technical issues, the assigned point of contact can be reached quickly.
Training offered as eLearning modules can be flexibly integrated and completed by employees during their workday. eLearning courses can be viewed at any time – there is no need for cumbersome scheduling as face-to-face events or webinars. At the same time, establishing (automated) evidence that an employee has completed the training and successfully answered test questions ensures that required learning goals are achieved, says Krohs. In a short time, many employees can be simultaneously trained across languages and countries – international rollout and translation into languages used in offices worldwide is possible without any problems. New employees can also be provided with the necessary compliance knowledge on very short notice.
eLearning modules can be made available on external platforms or integrated into the company’s own website and adapted to the technical conditions there. They can be easily accessed by employees via an online portal.
Recent deployment of an eLearning/eCompliance platform at KRÜGER Group
All these advantages convinced Dr Martin Fröhlich, General Counsel of the KRÜGER Group, to work with McDermott consultants to optimise the company‘s compliance programme using eLearning courses. The programme currently covers antitrust law and anti corruption in German and English, with other subject areas to follow. Offering eLearning on the BRYTER platform was particularly important to Fröhlich: because it is a no-code platform, the Legal Department can maintain and further develop the individual modules. eLearning is only the beginning of Fröhlich‘s legal tech strategy; he is planning the further digitalisation of the KRÜGER Group’s Legal Department.
As a cloud-based platform that doesn’t require hardware and can be accessed with any common web browser, BRYTER is very flexible, explains Uecker. It offers an intuitive user interface on which, with just a few clicks, decision nodes of any scalable complexity can be combined into interactive applications and adapted to individual requirements. In the everyday life of many in-house lawyers, there are often recurring tasks that only differ in a few places, but without the use of intelligent tools, they sometimes have to be adapted in a time-consuming manner. With the help of legal tech tools such as BRYTER, these tasks are completed more efficiently by working out the recurring elements for any given document or legal task and linking them to the associated dynamic elements. The end result is a digital tool that, for example, creates a specific document by answering a catalogue of questions or suggests an initial assessment of a legal question. The fast access, as well as the high degree of customisation options, also enables a timely and flexible solution to client-specific challenges, adds Hauss.