In the first week of July, Clocktimizer will be running a campaign titled ‘problems not solutions’. Don’t worry – there’s method to our madness. So why are we focusing on problems? Odd as the title may seem, we hear many lawyers (rightly) complaining that legal tech often fails to actually solve the problems they purport to.

[It] is necessary is to talk to lawyers and understand how the practice of law actually works today. Not how you hope it works after you bring your “disruptive” product to market, but how it works on the ground today. Better yet, understand the WHY. Jon Tobin

So what’s causing this? Well, there seem to be multiple factors. It could be a lack of market research. It could be that the product is simply trying too hard to fit in a cool new tech trend (without seeing if it really helps). The only real way to find out, is to start talking to lawyers. So that’s why we held a Twitter poll last week. We shared some of the most common problems lawyers have reported, and asked our followers to vote. Here’s what we learned.

The top voted problems

Before setting up the poll, we needed to do some digging. What are the most repetitive tasks in a lawyer’s day? What activities are prone to errors without automation? After a number of interviews we got down to the following answers:

  1. I can never find important emails in my inbox
  2. I spend too much time individually reviewing narratives for billing
  3. Checking citations for litigation is very time consuming and repetitive
  4. Failure to comply with billing regulations is resulting in clients refusing to pay
  5. Keeping track of items on a M&A closing checklist is time consuming and overlooked items lead to stressful last-minute changes to the transaction
  6. Reviewing documents is repetitive, high-volume work, making it prone to errors

Having put them to a vote, we came away with two clear winners. The ‘problem’ with 37% of the vote was the repetitive, error prone nature of document review. A close second, with 36%, was the time consuming task of narrative review.

Many will be aware that solutions do exist on the market to help with many of these problems. As such, we’ll be focusing on how these solutions address the specific problems lawyers face during our campaign. By working to better understand the nature of the problem, we hope to be able to provide more tailored solutions to lawyers. We’ll also be working with solutions providers directly to share this information.

It’s not just lawyers who have legal tech problems

Interestingly, our poll on Twitter also produced some problems we hadn’t thought of. Namely, what problems do people interacting with the law face? And could legal tech help them? Neil Brown shared one of the biggest problems facing non-lawyers: uncertain costs. Dera Nevin also chimed in, pointing out that poor legal literacy is a huge global problem.

We believe that legal tech should be a part of the solutions to these problems too. For this reason, we’ll be broadening our ‘problems not solutions’ campaign to look in more detail at legal problems faced by non-legal professionals. We’ll explore the problems themselves in more detail, and then explore what solutions to these issues could (or do) look like. Keep an eye out for the campaign in the first week of July.

A problem shared is a problem halved

If you missed last week’s poll, there is still a chance to be a part of the conversation. Tweet at us or head to our Linkedin page to share the problems you face either as a legal professional, or outside of the practice of law. Our campaign will be sharing content around the problems we collect. We will look at the solutions available (or discuss what’s missing) within the world of legal tech. We’ll also share quizzes, infographics and more to help identify which problems to prioritise and how.