Marcos Jarne, General Counsel, Nubank

Jarne shares his thoughts on the value technology can add for in-house legal teams and how the human component is still key.

Nubank is a Brazilian fintech founded with the objective of fighting complexity in the financial market by offering intuitive products and services. It has grown a lot since I joined, more than four years ago, to start and build the legal team.

Today, Nubank has more than 20 million clients (it is considered the largest digital bank outside Asia) and has recently expanded beyond Brazil to explore other Latam countries. And we are still at the beginning of our journey. One of the secrets to such hyper growth is the focus on the customer. We structure ourselves in four pillars: user experience, design, technology and data science. Technology has allowed us to get where we are today, but the human factor makes the company stand out.

The legal team, like other teams in the company, uses technology to manage information and data to assist in decision making. We have created internal tools to manage certain matters we deal with and which enable us to interact with other teams more efficiently. A current focus for us is smart contract management through a combination of technology and AI.

As a company, even as we increasingly use AI in our daily work, it is worth emphasising that we don’t delegate responsibility for decisions to machines. AI enables richer insights from data and improves the quality and speed of decision making. However, at the end of the day, humans remain accountable for making decisions. We are always called upon to use our judgement in the way we use the information we obtain from AI.

That is why in-house lawyers must be what I would call architects or designers of solutions. In many negotiations and decision-making processes, the human component is essential. Understanding body language and anticipating movements based on a repertoire inaccessible to machines is not an exact science. Science can help and will, more and more, but I believe there will always be a human in the loop, at least for the foreseeable future.

Technology will indeed replace repetitive and administrative tasks. It already allows better management of documents, streamlined due diligence processes and court decisions monitoring. However, lawyers – assisted by an increasingly powerful array of technology and AI tools – will continue as key players in designing solutions.

The legal market as a whole needs to be more prepared for a technological future. Law professionals must learn to harness the power of data and AI as a natural evolution of the profession. It is auspicious the emerging trend of law schools teaching courses on data and technology, and law firms introducing tech to their daily work.

Inside a tech company it’s very enriching to have people from different areas sharing their ideas and seeing how synergies are created between lawyers, engineers, business analysts, designers or data analysts. These interactions contribute a lot to deeply understanding how technology can be a further ally in developing better products, services and solutions, including in the legal area.

All in all, technology is definitely something that is already helping in-house teams and the legal market. And it will help even further, there is no way to avoid it. The key point is understanding how technology can add value while being aware of the importance of legal ethics, data protection and accountability in such discussions.