There are several valuable surveys and studies that track the progress of technology adoption in the legal industry and the attitudes of lawyers toward the technology that they use (or don’t use) in their work. One shortcoming of those surveys, however, is that they rarely illuminate the state of technology in specific practice areas. To help fill that gap for one practice area, we are announcing the release of the Litera Technology in M&A Report.
M&A lawyers have a distinct set of needs, and there are a wide variety of technology tools targeted toward M&A teams in law firms. We hope this research will help the industry to better understand those needs, and the state of M&A lawyers’ attitudes to new technologies and their stages of adoption. We believe this research will help M&A teams understand where they are in their digital transformation journey.
The report is based on a quantitative survey of over 200 M&A specialists at law firms in the US, UK, and Canada. It includes insights on the technologies they are using; their technology investment plans; the staffing and talent retention implications of technology adoption, and their view of the future of technology in M&A practice, particularly regarding the impact of machine learning technologies.
The research points to four main findings:
- M&A teams have already adopted a wide variety of technologies in their work. Technology solutions support M&A teams in all aspects of work: organization and workflow, negotiation, due diligence, drafting and closing. Adoption levels are strong across all those areas, with technology having an impact across the entire deal workflow.
- In a data-rich practice area, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are well established and becoming ubiquitous. In areas such as document reviews in due diligence projects, the use of AI is well established and growing. Most M&A lawyers believe AI will be leveraged on a large share of their deals within five years. Clients, too, are taking an interest in leveraging AI on their legal work, and a large majority of firms report that clients have specifically asked about AI capabilities.
- Technology is reshaping M&A teams, with new colleagues, new skill sets, and new expectations for legal careers. You can’t have a technology revolution without a people revolution. M&A teams see their firms investing in a wide variety of technology- and data-related professional skills, in roles such as pricing and budgeting managers, product managers, legal knowledge engineers, knowledge managers, and data analysts. Their firms are also committing significant resources to technology-related training.
- M&A teams recognize that technology enables more client-centric service delivery. As a result of the increased use of technology, M&A teams are reporting better conversations with clients on the scope and pricing of matters. Technology is enabling firms to be more creative in structuring deals and competing for business, and they are using technology as a differentiator and competitive advantage in attracting M&A business.
The full report, available for download, illuminates these main themes with analysis of the survey results. We believe this research is a valuable resource for understanding the influence of new technologies on modern M&A practice.
Posted in Transaction Management