Waiting for the standard

There are indeed more opportunities for even legal departments to digitize their processes. In the US, a large number of companies want to reduce their lawyers’ work or give them decision-making aids. Unlike in Germany, US companies like Cisco are actively involved in artificial intelligence and big data for legal advice. They do not want to cede supremacy to law firms.

Most companies in Germany are still a long way from this. But the digitalization of the economy overall is causing in-house lawyers to devote more attention to processes. Almost inevitably this causes them to focus on the digitization of their own work. Contract generators are already used in some departments. And Siemens now has a Legal Digitalization Officer and a practice for this.

Credit Suisse is even starting to replace internal advisors. In the US, the financial services provider uses robots to reduce the workload of the bank’s compliance center. 50 percent of inquiries are to be answered by AI in the future. This idea is likely to make the hair of most of those responsible for compliance in Germany stand on end.

The legal department at Darmstädter Software is taking digitalization into its own hands: counsel here are developing their own applications. Communication with the supervisory board occurs via the Virtual Board Room; the External Legal Manager takes care of hiring external legal counsel.

Some general counsel are already dreaming of an app store where legal departments refine their self-developed applications together. But there is a long way to go until legal open source arrives. So far there is not even a standard that would enable such a development. That said, five years ago no one would have believed that artificial intelligence would find its way into the market for legal advice.

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