The Startup Advantage in Legal Technology

Brightflag is a young company. But one of the benefits of legal technology startups like Brightflag is that we can innovate quicker. Right now we are bringing A.I. language analysis to help corporate legal departments control costs and to help law firms understand how they should price work, for example.

It’s a new concept that hasn’t existed before, solving a key issue for the industry – ensuring both sides of a legal transaction are happy with the resourcing and pricing of the work delivered.

But we don’t innovate in a vacuum. The key driver of our innovation is our clients. Constant feedback, suggestions and constructive criticism is the main driver of our product changes. We have a core language analysis technology – but how that is expressed through new features and product direction comes solely from our customers.

This approach has given us a huge advantage as we grow, especially as we continually hear of older legacy companies in the space being unresponsive.

The problem with size

Have you asked a large legal technology vendor recently for a new feature or improvement to your service? Did you get a positive response? If you didn’t, you are not alone. We continually hear disappointment at how unresponsive large companies are to requests and insights from their customers.

In many ways it is not their fault. When you get to a certain size, companies lose the ability to be responsive to their customers – they just simply don’t have the flexibility. Large companies have legacy customer bases to support, inflexible technology stacks, and increasingly complex inter-related features. They can’t simply insert a new feature into their plans and have it ready in a week.

While it is understandable why this is the case, it doesn’t stop you as a customer from being disappointed when you get the disappointing answer. And it highlights one of the many benefits of legal technology startups: their agility and responsiveness.

How we do it at Brightflag

A recent client told us they were spending days understanding exactly where their outside counsel had spent their time attending meetings.  Specifically, one of their bugbears was when different lawyers recording different time for the same meeting.

Before Brightflag, they were spending hours manually going through hundreds of invoice lines. They would match up to try to find meetings with multiple lawyers and check they had all recorded the same time. Often for the same meeting one lawyer would record an hour, and another might record 90 minutes – so the invoice was challenged. Over the lifetime of a matter where fees are in the millions – this single issue often accounted for tens of thousands of dollars of waste.

We decided to build a new feature to catch this. Our core language engine was already identifying and classifying all the invoice lines that represented meetings and calls.

With this data we were able to build a feature that understood who attended each meeting, how much they recorded, and how many discrepancies there might or might not be.

This new element saved hours of time and tens of thousands of dollars through highlighting inefficiencies. All because we paid attention to the nature of the problem and solved it with a little thinking outside the box.

The benefits of legal technology startups

We understood the value this feature would bring to our customer because we listened to them. We spent the time to build it, improved the product and kept our customer happy. And now all our customers benefit from it. So Brightflag wins doubly – we get to keep one customer happy, and also see our product improve in ways that we know are of value to all other legal departments.

This is just one small example of how working with a young startup company is different from working with a legacy vendor. No large company could do what we did here. You should always consider the startup advantage when you are looking at new products for improving your legal department.

Ian Nolan

CEO at Brightflag

Ian Nolan is Co-Founder and CEO of Brightflag. He has spent his entire career building software for the legal industry. Ian received his Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) Degree from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, and holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree from Dublin City University.

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