New York, March 31: Legal tech vendors in the US say they are unbowed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, and are so far keeping new product releases on schedule despite volatile markets and disruptions in how their law firm and corporate clients operate.
Some vendor executives recognize that a prolonged national emergency spurred by the virus could cause legal industry clients to reassess their need for new products and services.
But for now, many in legal tech—especially larger, well-established companies—say disruptions to the pipeline to develop and implement legal technology caused by COVID-19 seem far away.
Technology and legal services company UnitedLex isn’t delaying any product or service rollout as a result of the virus, CEO Dan Reed said in a statement.
“Digital is in our DNA and we are designed as an organization to deliver even with a primarily remote-first work model,” said Reed. “We continue to monitor and assess the situation and can wholeheartedly speak to our clients’ ongoing reliable access to business applications and information.”
Legal industry priorities in the U.S. are being tested by the outbreak. The situation could evolve quickly over the next few weeks and months, as the health care system, supply chains, and economy take on new burdens. Two top executives from Veritone, which offers artificial intelligence-enabled e-discovery and transcription and translation services, said they haven’t seen a drop-off in work since the coronavirus hit. They say this is reflected by the new contracts they’ve signed with police department and advertising agency clients, as well as as one legal client in a transcription matter.
The company has been aided by the fact that its services are cloud-based, making them more accessible for remote workers, said Jon Gacek, Veritone’s head of government, legal and compliance, and Chris Ricciuti, VP of product for government, legal and compliance.
Yet the legal tech landscape could change, said Gacek, if the country faces worst-case virus scenarios and the industry is forced to reevaluate its spending and business priorities. He said there could come a point when clients “are going to start reassessing” the value of each vendor they use.
In some recent cases, corporate legal departments have faced unexpected virus-related crises that involve, for example, contracts and leases that need to be speedily reviewed.