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The Quintessential Legal Tech Stack

June 28, 2024 6 min read

Technology has long been the legal professional’s friend. The past two years have seen an explosion of AI-powered applications and platforms promising gains in efficiency, productivity, and even job satisfaction. How do you separate signal from noise when it comes to the latest and greatest in workplace tech? Ironclad is here to help.

We’ve put together a quintessential legal tech stack of the most helpful solutions for the modern legal team or legal ops pro. From document management to CLM, these are the seven technologies we’ve found most useful in daily legal work. Some you’re no doubt familiar with, while others might be worth taking a look at. Either way, the key is to examine the way you work and find technologies that fit with — and can accelerate and improve — your current workflows.

Here’s what’s in our quintessential legal tech stack:

1. Cloud-based document management

Document management is the bane of too many lawyers’ and legal ops professionals’ existence. Modern document management solutions take the stress out of organization by making everything digital and storing it securely in the cloud. This way, instead of searching through a dusty basement archive, you can search for the file you need from the convenience of your computer or mobile device.

Generic cloud storage platforms like Dropbox and Google Drive offer basic functionality, but document management solutions designed for legal professionals offer some compelling upgrades. For starters, look for a solution that offers robust security for sensitive data, including two-factor authentication and data encryption. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) can help with converting scanned paper documents into fully searchable digital files. Document tagging makes it easy to categorize and search for information using whatever tags (labels) make sense to the way you work. And integrations with email, Slack, word processing, and other productivity apps can save time and effort by streamlining your workflows.

2. Legal accounting software

Money management is essential for any business. It can also be a headache, especially within the context of an in-house legal department tasked with handling the accruals and invoices coming in from external law firms.

Legal accounting software helps in-house legal teams save resources and streamline communications with the accounting department. A good solution should offer data reporting and dashboards that track risks, trends, and overall legal costs for both internal and external workloads, like work outsourced to a law firm. Some systems also allow both your staff and your legal service providers to upload invoices, eliminating another layer of administrative work. Also look for scope and RFP management features that make it easier to align on budget and expectations before and during engagements with your LSPs.

3. Case & task management

A good case management or task management solution is a legal pro’s best friend. Case management software puts every last detail of each and every case you or your firm is working at your fingertips. Get a complete overview of all case information, including contacts, documents, calendared events, notes, and even time tracking and billing information. Most case management software uses a dashboard to provide a quick overview of all of your cases, with search and browse functionality to dive into specific details as necessary.

Task management software helps modern in-house teams stay on top of the many incoming requests and forward looking projects they manage to help support the business. For managers of the department, the software also helps you track what the rest of the team is working on, allowing for prioritization and resource planning.

Look for a solution that integrates with your email, calendar, and document management apps, so important information is automatically synced and easily retrieved and shared with teammates.

4. Legal research & eDiscovery tools

With the globalization of business and workforces, and the accompanying global distribution of governing law for your organization, your legal tech stack absolutely needs legal research software. Today’s tools let you research cases, search for relevant information, and Shepardize cases quickly and conveniently.

A good research app gives legal teams access to up-to-date case law, statutes, federal and state regulations, international law, Treatises, law review articles and other scholarly documents, and practical law tools like briefs and forms.

Along with legal research tools, an eDiscovery solution is a key part of many legal teams’ stacks. Discovery is a critical part of the litigation process, involving the right to obtain and the obligation to produce non-privileged matter relevant to any party’s claims or defenses in litigation.

eDiscovery solutions facilitate the electronic discovery process by collecting, preserving, processing, reviewing, analyzing, and producing electronically stored information like digital communications (email, text messages, etc), file systems, cloud office platforms, databases, and software applications using digital means. A good eDiscovery tool can automate common discovery steps such as data ingestion, file indexing, OCR of scans, and more, preparing documents to be reviewed, tagged, and produced. eDiscovery software can also streamline the process by allowing teams to quickly cull out extraneous files, and produce files by automatically Bates stamping documents, applying redactions, and creating production documents suitable for sharing with other parties.

5. AI-powered videoconferencing

A reliable video conferencing tool is the bare minimum for any modern tech stack. Throw in a few key AI-powered features, though, and your remote meetings can suddenly be more collaborative, productive, and fun.

Start with an AI note taker. Task a bot with summarizing the key takeaways from your next meeting and free yourself — and your teammates — to fully engage in real-time discussions. A variety of note taking bots are available both natively and as third-party plugins on video platforms including Zoom and Google Meet. Some offer advanced features like real-time transcription and translation, and the ability to send automated follow-up emails after meetings end.

6. AI writing tool 

Generative AI can help speed up the writing process, no matter what kind of writing you’re doing. General purpose tools like chatbots and summarizers are great, but a new breed of AI-powered apps foster even greater efficiency by offering features and workflows tailored to the specific needs of legal writing.

Legal writing assistants should place an emphasis on accuracy and compliance with current laws and regulations. They also need to ensure confidentiality and data security, given the sensitive nature of legal work. Look for document automation that can scan existing documents and reformat them to fit legal templates, and also support autocomplete across multiple documents (eg, Enter information once and it populates through a specified set of files).

7. Contract Lifecycle Management Solution (CLM)

CLM solutions bring all aspects of contract management onto a single platform for ease of use, efficiency, and knowledge transfer across your entire organization. Key features to look for in a CLM platform include:

Contract Repository
The contract repository is the core of your CLM system. A repository lets you upload digital agreements, scan paper, and create new contracts as fully text-searchable documents. Going digital with your contracts unlocks a world of efficiency, convenience, and insight. Automate routine manual data processing work, keep track of every change to every document, and eliminate trips to basement archives full of dusty files.

Once your contracts are digital, you can analyze all of your contract data, easily find the information you need, and report on key metrics like contract review times and upcoming renewals. A CLM with integrated analytics features makes it easy to do everything from gathering insights on correlations between contract data and sales impact, to generating reports using ready-made or customizable templates. Stop guessing and estimating, and start operating your business more effectively with accurate, real-time data.

Workflow Designer
Automation is the key to saving time and freeing your legal minds up for high-level strategic work. Look for a workflow designer with a straightforward drag-and-drop user interface, the ability to templatize standard contracting workflows, and create and launch contract generation and approval processes in minutes—not weeks or months.

eSignature Capabilities
eSignature is so much more than just signing documents remotely. A CLM with integrated eSignature functionality lets you configure, launch, and sign contracts all in one place. Look for one that allows you to see a contract’s full approval history, plus an executive summary of relevant key terms for internal signers. And if it provides access both the approval audit trail data collected at time of signature and the contract metadata, signing goes that much faster because you’re not spending time looking for the background to the contract you’re signing . It’s all automated and all integrated into your CLM solution, so you can see the data trail and metadata with a few mouse clicks.

New technologies like generative AI work best when they augment human expertise. Your legal tech stack should combine familiar workflows with AI and other tech designed to speed up, or even fully handle, time-consuming work like combing through contracts for actionable insights. A robust CLM solution like Ironclad leverages technology in a system purpose-built for legal work.

Learn more about what Ironclad can do for your legal tech stack – request a demo today!

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