Shieldcast: Episode 012

Hosted by Geoff Dunnett

Daniel Grant Smith on the barriers to legaltech adoption

Head of Engagement at Legatics Daniel Grant Smith discusses recently conducted research by Legatics into the barriers to legaltech adoption and the findings published in their Behaviour Change and AI Microservices whitepapers.

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Transaction Management Podcast tiles - Dan Grant Smith

Daniel Grant Smith trained and qualified as an associate at Hogan Lovells for 5 years, working in the Private Equity/M&A team on transactions of all sizes, from billion-dollar acquisitions to Seed financings. 

Prior to joining Legatics, he completed an MBA at Cambridge University Judge Business School, with his final research paper focusing on barriers to the practical adoption of LegalTech solutions in law firms, and is passionate about law firm innovation and change.

Dan holds a BA (Hons) degree in History from Bristol University.

You can download their whitepapers on identifying barriers to legal technology adoption here: 

Learn more about Legatics:


LinkedIn: Legatics

Twitter: @legatics

Dan contributed to our recent Transaction Management eBook. You can read his insights on the barriers to legaltech adoption bydownloading the book here

In this Transaction Management episode of Shieldcast, Dan and Geoff discuss:  

  • What behavioural barriers there are to the adoption of legaltech in law firms
  • Why the structure of billable hours and the challenge of 'not enough time in the day' has prevented lawyers from implementing new technologies
  • How the pandemic has affected the digital transformation of the legal sector
  • To what extent partners need to be driving the uptake of legaltech and their responsibility to role model 
  • How carrying out research and collecting data can influence product developments

Read the transcript of this podcast

Geoff: On today's episode of the Shieldcast, we welcome Daniel Grant Smith, Head of Engagement at Legatics. Welcome Daniel.

Dan: Hi, Geoff pleasure to be here.

Geoff: Dan is a fellow lawyer turned legal techie. Having trained at Hogan Lovells for five years in the PE and M&A teams, he saw the full breadth of transaction types, sizes and complexities from billion dollar deals to seed financings.

He then went on to do an MBA at Cambridge Judge University business school, and then embarked on a career in legaltech, which is a very good idea compared to staying in private practice, but we'll touch on that I'm sure over the course of this discussion.

We had a chance to talk to the other Daniel, Daniel Porous of Legatics, in a previous episode and we touched on a number of issues around adoption of legaltech but this Daniel has brought some real research behind it. And I'm pleased to talk to him about this in much more detail, as well as talking about your recent report and white paper that you've just published, 'The barriers to legaltech adoption', which is going to be a large part of what we're going to talk about today. So that's super exciting.

In this series, we are talking about how technology has impacted the transaction management lifecycle. Adoption of technology is pretty key to all of that. This should be very interesting and very insightful. Daniel again, thank you very much for joining us.

Dan: Oh, it's an absolute pleasure. And thanks very much for the comprehensive lead-in.

Geoff: I've done some homework and you gave me some insights on what's been going on, so it wasn't too difficult. For those that haven't listened to previous episodes and don't know Legatics, please give me the brief pitch of Legatics and what does being Head of Engagement at Legatics mean?

Dan: Sure. So very simply, Legatics is a transaction management platform. And essentially what it allows you to do is... lawyers live in lists, so lawyers manage their transactions within their processes in Word, in Excel, using a list format, and that is then supported by entire constellation of emails, phone calls of instant messages and it quickly becomes very hard to manage. So, it's very hard to stay on top of that the process; you're exchanging multiple versions of the updated table and when you're dealing with processes at massive size and scale it's very easy for things to get lost.

What Legatics does is allows you to create digital versions of those lists. So, on the platform, you can update different items that need to be completed, you can upload documents, you can collaborate with the other side and everything updates in real time - so everyone gets a permanent status of the transaction at any one given point. And in doing so, increases efficiency, increases transparency and de-risks and also hopefully it makes the transaction less painful for everyone.

Geoff: Great. That sounds, as I've said before to you and to other Dan, that it would have been a godsend to have something like that when I was working in a private practice. So yeah, really pleased it solutions like yours are available now. But what does being Head of Engagement mean in that context? How does that help your interaction with law firms, et cetera? How does that sort of work?

Dan: The engagement team looks after the kind of existing relationships with our customers. We tend to think of customers in two buckets, the kind of existing account management aspect of it, which is what engagement does and the kind of user focused element support and direct user feedback, which is customer success.

On the engagement side, what we're really focused on is just making sure that the law firms we work with are deriving in the most value that they can from the platform. So we really zeroed in on making sure that adoption is increasing, that there are no roadblocks, that they're getting exactly what they expected from the platform and that we've thought about all the possible use cases that they could use it for, and generally things are proceeding and how they expect. So it, it dovetails very nicely with some of the adoption research and the things that I've I was looking at before joining.

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