Buying IT equipment or systems has additional considerations if purchasing for a legal practice. You should evaluate if the item being purchased will have an impact on your professional obligations. Consider the following questions before you start the procurement process.
Questions for your firm
- Have you assessed whether, and if so how, use of the technology will impact on the advice you give to clients, the way in which you conduct client business, how you deal with fellow professionals, and engage with the courts or other legal bodies or institutions?
- Are you satisfied that your firm’s use of the technology in no way conflicts with your ethical, professional and legal obligations (to your client, the courts, your fellow solicitors and others) and your commitment to the rule of law.
- If the technology claims to offer ‘compliance solutions’ for your clients, are you in a position to assess whether it is capable of providing your client with solutions that comply with the relevant regulatory regime?
- If you intend to rely to any extent on the output of the technology (e.g. a draft document, legal argument, contract analysis, search results, prediction of litigation outcome)
do you understand the ‘logic’ and/or methods involved in generating the output?
would you be able to give a simple explanation of the ‘logic’ and/or methods involved in generating the output to a client?
- Can you satisfy yourself that the technology has been designed in such a way that its design, operation and use comply (and continue to comply) with all applicable laws (provided always that the technology is used in accordance with the vendor’s instructions and/or specifications)?