In-house technology: Italy

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To celebrate the launch of GC magazine’s special report In-House Technology in Europe, produced in conjunction with World Services Group, GC assembled a selection of elite general counsel from across Italy to discuss the results and debate the impact it stands to have on legal departments across Europe.

Chairing the debate was GC magazine editor-in-chief Alex Speirs, together with Francesco Gianni, founding partner of Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Partners.

Across Europe, and for that matter the world, in-house legal departments are catching the wave of technology – both specialist legal tech and otherwise – and using it to modernise their function within the businesses they work for.

At the top of the list for in-house counsel in Italy was efficiency, with all of those in attendance who utilised technology solutions saying that was their number one consideration made during procurement phases – one which resonated both with in-house and the wider business. In the face of shrinking budgets and growing workloads, that efficiency would be of primary importance won’t come as a surprise to many.

A number of those in attendance were also using technology to manage their partner law firms down to granular detail, keeping tabs and metrics on everything from billable hours to case assignments.

‘These new processes will certainly influence change within in-house departments and law firms alike. Focusing on where time is best spent and developing a strong base objective is only the tip of the iceberg as these developments continue,’ said Gianni.

‘The key for decision makers will be to strategically choose and implement systems and processes that unlock the true potential of their teams. It will require a change of mindset.’

All of those in attendance agreed that technology was a potential game changer for the legal industry, but most said that the time was still a few years away.

‘I think the real moment will be when we get genuine artificial intelligence working to help us with everything from researching cases to helping to make more informed decisions based on factors we may not even consider at present,’ opined one general counsel.

‘We’re not there yet at my company and I don’t think there’s many in the industry who are, but that moment is coming and we need to be prepared.’

That thought echoed the musings of many GCs from across Europe, who weighed in for our special report, which can be read here.