I have a bias (heck, I have many biases, but when it comes to LegalTech I have a specific bias). My bias: the world falls into one of two categories: data or process. For example, professional services = process; enterprise search = data. Oversimplified, of course. But sensible in a slightly maniacal way.

On Day Three of LegalTech, I discussed the show’s themes with a long-standing client. She mentioned some of the latest tools, but came back to the basics of project management. I said, aha! The process side is winning out. Nope, the client said, that’s too easy. And she was right. The tools, even the latest triangle graphs, attempt to present themselves as a tool to facilitate process. I need to chew on this one a bit further, but here’s my initial take on this epiphany.

So what are the “right” types of tools that appeared to resonate this year? Maybe we’re talking about the ones that most efficiently bridge the data/process gap. A discovery platform that provides as much value with small data sets as large. Research tools that more accurately find the most relevant cases. Ecosystems of tools that individually solve specific problems and together track data/documents through a process. The ability to eliminate rummaging through piles of books, contracts and/or transcripts to insert the right quote with accurate citations. Each solves a practical process problem, but has better reach into the data.

It’s like the old adage: if your tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Don’t get me wrong. I still carry my bias, but maybe I’ll put down the hammer and pick up a wrench every now and again.

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