As all GCs know, technology is coming to transform the legal function. Just like it had been coming last year, the year before, and has been coming for most of the last decade. The story of legal tech’s inevitable rise has been repeated so often that it is in danger of becoming “fake news”. But, as our report into legal technology in North America shows, the news is far from fake.

In partnership with World Services Group, GC magazine has compiled a special report exploring the ways in which technology is changing the corporate legal function. We surveyed and spoke to over 200 senior counsel in the US and Canada to understand how the legal teams at companies in all sectors – from tech titans to manufacturing businesses – are making use of technology. Their message was clear: wake up to the power of legal tech.

What do in-house lawyers hate about their role? Reviewing NDAs; writing and negotiating hundred-page documents that contain 90 pages of boilerplate; answering the same question fifty times a day. As our report shows, legal teams in the US and Canada have come to realise that technology can remove a lot of these frustrations, freeing in-house lawyers to do the exciting business-critical work they never had time for.

In the past 12 months, general counsel have had other reasons to reflect on technology. Following a wave of cyber security breaches and ransomware attacks at prominent North American companies, familiarity with IT systems has become a critical part of the GC role. To help GCs understand how their peers are responding to these rising threats, we devote considerable attention to the question of cyber security.

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