Association of Corporate Counsel Conference 2016 Ian Goddard, Yarris CEO

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Ian Goddard, CEO at Yarris describes his observations from the recent ACA Conference in Canberra.

Yarris is in the business of selling technology to transform the way business practice is conducted. For that reason, we are deeply interested in the likely take-up of new technology by our potential customers.

Our team recently attended the annual conference of the Association of Corporate Counsel in Canberra, together with a few hundred corporate lawyers who work inside corporations.

After discussions with many lawyers, our view is that there is a long way to go before legal services are transformed by technology. We believe services will inevitably be transformed, because they are so expensive that society demands it, and because new technologies will enable the change. There is enormous potential for growth in our industry.

Lawyers have many issues in common – their document management systems are generally less than ideal, they need contract management systems, they want well organised matter management capability and they would like to be able to report comprehensively on the expenses and efficiencies of their external law firms. Overall, they feel that they waste time needlessly hunting for documents and emails amongst various storage systems. They just don’t have the tools to operate efficiently. Also, they don’t have budget to buy tools.

A quote from a lawyer with a large corporation summed up the prevailing practice. He expressed frustration at the company’s lack of systems. He explained that because the company imposes limits on storage, the lawyers use their own portable hard drives to store company documents. They invariably use Outlook folders to store their work, and when a lawyer leaves after 5 or 10 or 20 years, her documents and communications leave with her.

Many of the tools to solve these issues are available now. Our job is to inform the buyers and assist with the journey.