Glossary

LegalTech Glossary is here to help you to quickly navigate through main and important LegalTech and closely related concepts. Collected terms are structured alphabetically, this is why this comprehensive Glossary represent immediate access to LegalTech terms.

For more insights be sure to check other sections in Knowledge Centre.


A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


A

Access to Justice (A2J) includes the right to receive legal counsel and access fair and efficient legal proceedings. Modern A2J is usage of LegalTech which have potential to improve access to justice for low-income individuals. Some organizations have started to use legal tech to improve access to justice and are seeing great results, making an impact, and paving the way for other law firms and organizations.

Accounts Payable (AP) Systems allow your internal financial department to track invoices in order to make the appropriate payments to your suppliers, vendors, and creditors. Although AP and legal are separate entities, it’s important for the two departments to be closely aligned to ensure accurate bookings. By integrating a legal e-Billing and matter management system with an AP solution, organizations can automate the invoice handoff to increase efficiency.

Alternative Fee Arrangement (AFA) is fee for law firm services that is not on standard hourly rates, such as fixed fees by matter or phases of a matter. In strict sense, not at all based on the billable hour, so excludes blended or discounted hourly rates, but often these hourly fees are lumped in with true value-based fees.

Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs) are not law firms, they are service providers that provide specialized work , often at a lower cost with more expertise and flexibility. ALSPs aren’t exclusively for in-house departments. Law firms are leveraging their services to support work that would require too many in-house resources. To ensure your legal team is getting the most out of its vendors, get a vendor management system to track performance of both Law firms and ALSPs.

Application Programming Interface (API) enables software to access data, server software, or other applications to create a connection between disparate applications and eliminate outdated, manual transfer of information. For in-house legal teams, using an API to connect legal tech such as e-Billing with finance’s AP/ERP system can eliminate manual transfer of information between legal and finance, ensuring both teams have visibility into legal’s financial data. However, not all API’s are the same and may not be the right choice for your legal department.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) are computer science methods that allow computers to complete tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as speech recognition, problem solving and learning. AI is being incorporated into legal technology that helps automate certain manual processes and administrative tasks which currently burden attorneys. While there is great promise for AI, legal departments have been slow to adopt this type of technology due to concerns over accuracy, reliability, and implementation cost.

Augmented Reality is an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved through the use of digital visual elements, sound, or other sensory stimuli delivered via technology. It is a growing trend among companies involved in mobile computing and business applications in particular. It can make delivery of legal services more efficient and accessible.

Automation is the process of having tasks originally manually performed by humans completed by computers in order to increase efficiency. Automation becomes a key ally in improving efficiency and lowering cost for legal departments. Standard processes like contract review, approvals, NDAs, and matter management can all be automated and streamlined with a legal operations management platform.

B

Backups copy your data to remote servers and store the data in case anything happens to your main server. If something were to happen to your main server, you would be able to easily get your data back from a backup server. Legal teams handle a lot of sensitive business data and therefore should constantly be backing up their servers. Automatic backup systems are recommended to make sure all your data is backed up.

Benchmarking is the process of reviewing historical data and industry best practices to set expectations and accountability on the performance of projects, vendors, and departments. In legal departments, benchmarking law firm performance and cost will allow you to identify law firms that are underperforming or too expensive. In order to benchmark successfully, you’ll need a management platform that has built-in reporting capabilities for accurate data tracking.

Big Data refers to a database that holds all your raw data without filters and segments. As the prioritization of data continues to grow in legal departments, it is critical for legal teams to work with their vendors to ensure their data is protected.

Blockchain Technology is a system of blocks (information captured) aligned in a chain (linear order) in order to capture edits, transactions and distribution. The goal of this technology is to allow information to be captured and shared, without the fear of false/insecure information. For example, if a transaction is made by someone, the block would capture all the transaction data and assign a unique identifier to that transaction. If a hacker were to go into that transaction and try to increase the charge, a new block along the chain would be created. Therefore, you will always be able to identify your original transaction. Although blockchain technology is fairly new to the legal sector, it is expected to play an important role in revolutionizing contracts, corporate filings, document notarizations and even the criminal justice system.

Business Intelligence Software is used to gather and analyze data about your legal functions. Examples of data that can be analyzed
includes legal spend, legal case data allows, and eDiscovery metrics. It typically provides dashboard, report creation, or other
methods to represent data in various formats.

Business Process Management (BPM) refers to the operational tasks that automate, analyze, track, and improve current business processes in order to support the organization’s goals. For legal departments, legal operations has emerged to help manage and streamline business processes, ensuring the department is working efficiently. These efforts can be further optimized with legal operations software with matter management and e-Billing functionality.

C

Change Management is the planning and execution behind moving a person, team, or entire organization from their current state to a new or future state. Planning for and executing a change management program can help increase product or process adoption, boost legal department productivity, and minimize wasted resources and delays.

Cloud-Based Software are applications that are stored on an online server as opposed to your local server. An advantage to these platforms is that software vendors are now responsible for maintaining the platforms versus having your internal IT department maintain the platforms. In addition, you can access these platforms from anywhere as long as you have internet access. Many of the modern legal operations management platforms are cloud-based applications that allow legal teams to store their matter data and access it wherever needed.

Cloud Storage refers to offsite data centers that hold your data. These data centers are always on and connected so you’re able to access your documents and data anywhere as long as you have internet access.Many legal departments use document management platforms for cloud storage in order to store their contracts, case documents, emails, and even videos.

Compliance Management Software allows legal compliance departments to monitor and track an organization’s activities and processes to ensure they are complying with all laws and regulations. Compliance management also consists of correcting any violations in order to stay compliant and avoid lawsuits against the organization.

Configuration in technology refers to adjusting general platform features to align with your business requirements without changing the platform completely. In legal technology, configuring a matter management platform might include changing field labels to match internal nomenclature or setting up roles and permissions based on your internal organization structure. Check out our blog on customizable vs configurable legal technology to learn more.

Continuous Active Learning is machine learning document review that identifies & prioritizes the documents most likely to be relevant.

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) is the managing of contracts an organization has with a third party in order to reduce financial and legal risk. This could include contracts with vendors, customers, partners, or even employees. In order to facilitate and automate the management of contracts, legal teams are turning to CLM software.

Corporate Secretary Tools are used to manage board governance cycles including online board books, event scheduling, collaboration and reporting.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software allows your department to manage customer relationships and interactions by tracking all forms of engagement and customer/potential customer information. The goal is to help improve business and customer relationships by streamlining engagement processes. There are a number of law firm specific CRMs that focus on client acquisition, contract management, and outreach. It is important to understand that a CRM is not a Case Management Software, but many CRMs integrate with popular case management platforms available.

D

Data Analytics or Data Analysis, is the process of transforming and cleaning data to discover insights about your organization/department in order to make key decisions and increase efficacy. While in legal departments, data analytics can cover a range of metrics, many legal departments are leveraging analytical data to improve their spend management to avoid becoming a cost center.

Data Subject Access Request is a right of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). A request from an individual to obtain a copy of their personal data as well as other supplementary information. It helps individuals to understand how and why you are using their data, and check you are doing it lawfully.

Deep Learning is a subset of machine learning, which is essentially a neural network with three or more layers. These neural networks attempt to simulate the behavior of the human brain—albeit far from matching its ability—allowing it to “learn” from large amounts of data. While a neural network with a single layer can still make approximate predictions, additional hidden layers can help to optimize and refine for accuracy.

Document Comparison Tools are used to identify changes between two or more versions of the same document for the purposes of document editing and review.

Document Management Systems (DMS) allows you to store, manage, and track your documents electronically to ensure all documents are in a central location while reducing paper waste. Many of these platforms, like Box and iManage allow versioning control, restricted access and sharing capabilities. In legal departments, DMS systems help improve the tracking and management of matters via integration or by leveraging a matter management system with built-in document management.

E

eDiscovery Software streamlines your eDiscovery process by holding all your data in one place for easy researching, collaboration, and sharing. Before eDiscovery software, the collection and sharing of data for cases involved physically shipping documents in boxes. With eDiscovery software, legal teams can easily share information with law firms, clients, and vendors all from one platform.

Encryption is a method of data protection that turns your documents into gibberish that can only be understood with specific software/code. If a hacker were to steal your encrypted files, they would have a hard time reading the files if they didn’t have the codes to de-encrypt. In today’s digital era, more and more legal departments and law firms are using software to encrypt their data to reduce the risk of data loss and unauthorized access.

Electronic Service (eService) is the electronic transfer of legal documents between a client/organization and a court/legal service provider. Transferring documents electronically ensures the correct document and version reaches its destination versus mailing and emailing documents.

eSignature Software allows users to sign contracts and documents online without the need for paper copy exchanges. These signatures are legally binding like a paper signature. eSignature Software is gaining popularity amongst legal departments for contract processing with vendors, clients, and outside counsel.

F

Financial Management is a key responsibility for legal operations teams as they need to align with their finance department and operate efficiently. This is where spend management platforms come in. Spend management platforms allow legal departments to track legal spend and integrate with finance software for payments and invoice approval.

G

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in Europe (EU) in May 2018. GDPR overhauls how business process and handle data; regulates, among other things, cross-border transfer of personal data. It significantly affected information governance practices for multinational companies.

H

Hackathon is an event at which a lot of people come together to write or improve computer programs. LegalTech Hackathons are bringing the world’s legal industry together with tech and innovation, with one purpose: Rapid development of solutions for improving the legal industry.

I

Information Governance is the management of an organization’s information with processes, controls, and tracking in order to make information available to all employees within the organization and mitigate compliance risk.

Integrations, specifically application integrations, allow you to connect your tech stack with other platforms through native, custom, and API integrations. For legal departments, having a legal operations platform that can easily integrate with 3rd party applications in different departments helps improve data exchange reliability and accuracy, automate workflows, and increase efficiency.

Intellectual Property (IP) software is used by attorneys and law firms to manage IP filings and litigations. With a legal operations platform integration with your IP management solution, you automate operational aspects of IP prosecutions and allow your attorney’s to focus on the prosecution.

J

Judicial Ontology Library (JudO) is an ontology that represents the interpretations performed by a judge when conducting legal reasoning towards the adjudication of a case. For the purposes of this application, judicial interpretation is intended in the restricted sense of the acts of judicial subsumption performed by a judge when considering a material instance, and assigning it to an abstract category (type). JudO is centred on a core ontology featuring some judicial ontology patterns. The final goal of the framework is to detect and model of jurisprudence-related information directly from the text, and to perform shallow reasoning on the resulting knowledge base. JudO also constitutes the basis for the application of argumentation patterns through reasoning on a set of rules, which represent the grounding of judicial interpretations in deontic and defeasible logics.

Justice Gap can be understood as the number of people who have at least one unmet justice need. It undermines human development, reinforces the poverty trap, and imposes high societal costs. LegalTech plays important role when closing the justice gap and si therefore vital to realize the broader development agenda and its vision of a “just, equitable, tolerant, open and socially inclusive world in which the needs of the most vulnerable are met.

K

Knowledge Management refers to the way teams create, share, and find information within their organization. This has grown in popularity within Legal departments because it reduces duplicate work, streamlines internal processes, and increases collaboration among team members. Knowledge management platforms allow users to easily share information amongst peers, find all the information related to specific cases, and understand vendor relationships all within one platform.

L

Law Company  is a term prefered by some to ALSPs (avoids “alternative,” which can be seen as marginalizing). May also more narrowly refer to the managed legal services providers.

LEDES File Format, created by the LEDES Oversight Committee (LOC) in 1995, is a standard format for billing and information exchange between corporations and law firms. LEDES format is simple and allows law firms to easily create invoices while allowing your legal department to easily accept invoices in a uniform format. Ensuring your e-Billing solution supports LEDES will allow smoother transactions between your vendors and your team.

Legal Design is the application of human-centered design to the world of law, to make legal systems and services more human-centered, usable, and satisfying. The term is often connected to Legal Design Thinking as an creative problem-solving approach. Legal Design Thinking means understanding the context and needs of people interacting with law and being able to apply improvements based on these insights to make justice accessible for everyone.

Legal e-Billing refers to software that replaces the traditional billing model where legal teams receive bills from their law firms via email or snail mail. With e-Billing, legal teams no longer have to review stacks of paper bills and manually enter line items into spreadsheets to generate reports. Legal operations teams utilize e-Billing systems to manage invoice intake, enforce billing guidelines, and automatically route invoices for approval.

Legal Engineering is the interface between legal experts and technology experts – they get both sides of the equation. There are typically two routes into this role: from the legal side or from the tech side. Sometimes legal engineers are technologists who become familiar with legal processes, having developed their legal knowledge after years of working in technology roles in law firms. Other times, legal engineers can be lawyers (or ex-lawyers) who are technologically adept and see the opportunity to improve legal processes with the intelligent use of technology, so they move from a fee earning role to an innovation role.

Legal Operations (Legal ops), describes a set of business processes, activities, and the professionals who enable legal departments to serve their clients more effectively by applying business and technical practices to the delivery of legal services. Legal ops provides the strategic planning, financial management, project management, and technology expertise that enables legal professionals to focus on providing legal advice.

Legal Operations Platform, also known as Legal Operations Management (LOM) Platform, help legal departments manage all their operational tasks in one location. These platforms tend to capture matter data such as progress and outcomes, spend and e-Billing, vendor performance, and much more. In addition, they are reporting tools that allow legal ops departments to uncover insights and optimize processes.

Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) is the process of transferring the work from in-house legal departments to outside legal agencies in an effort to increase their in-house efficiency on high priority tasks. Some teams also practice legal process offshoring where they transfer legal work to international organizations to help reduce cost. In order to manage LPO, legal teams turn to vendor management platforms to track all vendor activity such as billing, projects, and timekeeping.

Legal Project Management, a form of matter management, leverages the practices of project management to manage legal matters. Legal technologies, such as matter management platforms, provide legal project managers full visibility into matter spend, timing, and vendor performance.

Legal Service is the legal work a lawyer completes for their client. This can be between a lawyer and an individual or a law firm and an in-house legal department. In the past, tracking the progress of legal services and billing was very manual, but with legal technology such as vendor management and e-Billing, this process is now automated.

Legal Technology allows legal departments to streamline processes in order to improve efficiency. Types of legal technology can be leveraged by in-house counsel and law firms, and can include billing technology, matter management platforms, contract management platforms, e-Signature, and timekeeping software, to name a few. Some might argue that there’s no such thing as legal tech, but instead, tech that’s been adopted to the legal field.

M

Machine Learning is pattern recognition software that allows computers to find solutions to new problems from historical data. The more historical data, the more accurate a machine learning model becomes. Similar to artificial Intelligence technology, machine learning technology has not been widely accepted by lawyers due to accuracy concerns.

Matter Management refers to the process of creating, sharing, tracking, and managing legal projects. Specifically in regards to legal technology, matter management platforms help improve legal department efficiency by streamlining workflows and tracking all matter activity in one location.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a product with enough features to attract early-adopter customers and validate a product idea early in the product development cycle. In industries such as LegalTech, the MVP can help the product team to receive user’s feedback as quickly as possible to iterate and improve the product. COmpanies choose to develop and release minimum viable product to enter the market as quickly as possible, test an idea with real users before investing in the product’s full development and to evaluate particular market potential.

N

Neuron Network is a computational learning system that uses a network of functions to understand and translate a data input of one form into a desired output, usually in another form. The concept of the artificial neural network was inspired by human biology and the way neurons of the human brain function together to understand inputs from human senses. Neural networks are just one of many tools and approaches used in machine learning algorithms. The neural network itself may be used as a piece in many different machine learning algorithms to process complex data inputs into a space that computers can understand. Neural networks are being applied to many real-life problems today, including speech and image recognition, spam email filtering, finance, and medical diagnosis, to name a few.

NewLaw represents any model, process, or tool that represents a significantly different approach to the creation or provision of legal services than what the legal profession traditionally has employed. There are three variables to NewLaw: 1.) How the work is won; 2.) How work is done; 3.) How the firm is run. For a law firm to actually provide value, it must truly work differently, have an incentive for efficiency, embrace technology and have access to scale.

O

Outside Counsel Rationalization is the process of evaluating outside counsel market alternatives and in-house standards in order to improve quality and reduce cost. With vendor management platforms, implementing OCR processes is easy and tracking vendor performance is all on one screen.

Online Case Management is a system that allows attorneys to manage all documents and progress of a case they are working on. These tools come in handy when a case is large in scale, document-heavy, and involves multiple teams of attorneys. Online case management systems focus on the progress of specific cases while matter management platforms take a holistic view of all legal activity, not just case progress.

Optical Character Recognition is technology that allows you to convert pdf, images, and scanned files into text files for editing. For example, you scan a contract but you want to edit the text; instead of typing it all out, an optical character recognition system will analyze the scan and convert the content into text.

P

Platform is the medium that users experience your product on. Some common platforms are  mobile phones, desktop computers, smart displays, tablets, wearables.

Practice Management Software helps lawyers manage their cases and legal operations in order to allow lawyers to focus more on practicing law and less on operational tasks. Legal practice management software is primarily for law firms and vendors and includes case management, matter management, client communications, billing, and more. Practice management software helps improve legal matter tracking by keeping all data in one location.

Procurement is the buying of goods and services, usually at a large scale for organizations. Legal procurement is the buying and vetting of outside counsel to ensure they are getting the best value from their legal spend. To help facilitate this, vendor management platforms allow legal departments to compare the performance and cost of their vendors to make data-driven purchasing decisions. In a lot of larger organizations, legal procurement also focuses on identifying and vetting technology for the legal department.

Q

R

Records Management is the management of information within an organization including storing, securing, and tracking information. Many legal operations management platforms have record management features like matter information storage and invoice storage to allow users to access data whenever needed.

Request for Proposal (RFP) is a business document that provides information on a project to support a request for proposals from multiple vendors to identify the best option.Similarly, a legal RFP is when an in-house counsel presents vendors with a request for new legal tech or presents law firms with a legal project and requests them to provide pricing proposals for the legal work required.

Robotic Process Automation is a business process technology that performs basic tasks across applications just as human workers do, replacing and dramatically speeding up simple, repetitive tasks which are performed by robots.

S

Semantics is the study of meaning in a language. It may be quite challenging to present legal terms through computer language. Legal Semantics develops theories and methodologies for extracting reasoning patterns from legal documents, in order to use those patterns to formulate better arguments in future legal cases. It requires developing semantic types for labeling legal information, as well as creating annotations or labeled data that can be used to develop and test Artificial Intelligence application in legal domain.

Smart Contracts are computer generated contracts that track the contract rules and execute specific actions in accordance with the contract terms without the need of manual monitoring. For instance, making payments as contracted work is completed or alerting when a contract is violated. Smart contracts leverage blockchain technology to ensure security and track changes, as a result, they are most commonly used in cryptocurrency transactions. Smart contracts aren’t widely adopted by legal departments, but as technology continues to modernize legal teams, we won’t be surprised if we start seeing smart contracts around more.

Software as a Service (SaaS), is exactly as the name describes, software delivered by a vendor as a service for a specific amount of time depending on the contract between the vendor and the customer. This software is hosted online by the vendor and doesn’t require users to install on their local server. Majority of the modern legal operations platforms available are SaaS and offer features such as matter management, e-Billing, vendor management, and more.

Spend Management Software allows users to track their spend and management of invoices, budgets, e-Billing, accruals, and more from one system. This provides legal departments with complete visibility into their department’s spend to help departments make data-driven decisions that helps lower cost and increase productivity.

Subject Matter Expert is the expert of certain field of expertise. In the legal department, it’s often a lawyer with knowledge that is specific to a certain practice area.

T

Third Party Applications are applications developed by vendors to add on to platforms from other vendors. In legal tech, integrations between your legal operations management platform and third party applications such as AP software and IP software can help increase collaboration between legal departments and the rest of the organization.

Technology Assisted Review (TAR) is a machine learning document review that utilizes algorithms created using a seed set of documents reviewed by subject matter experts (predictive coding), or coding by human reviewers (continuous active learning) without creating a seed set.

U

Uberisation of Legal Services means to modify a market or economic model by the introduction of an affordable and efficient alternative or to change the market for legal services by introducing a different way of buying or using it, especially using mobile technology.

V

Vendor Management is the process of managing vendors and evaluating vendor performance to ensure your organization is getting the most from your vendors. e-Billing and spend management platforms with vendor management capabilities allow legal teams to analyze performance data such as projects completed, timing, and cost in order to improve vendor relations.

Vendor Portals allow vendors and law firms to submit invoices, propose matter budgets, manage timekeepers, and track assigned matters. These portals connect with the department’s matter management software, allowing legal departments to track vendor activity.

Virtual Law Firms operate online without a physical office location by having their lawyers work from anywhere they have internet access. As virtual law firms become more popular, it is important for a legal department to have a vendor management platform that tracks all vendor activity and documents electronically as you can’t fax to a virtual location.

W

W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium) is an international organization committed to improving the web. It promotes a set of recommendations for knowledge graphs, knowledge graph schemas and a query language for querying knowledge graphs.

Workflow Automation is the process of converting human manual processes to automated processes through technology. Workflow automation helps increase a legal department’s efficiency by allowing lawyers to focus more on legal work versus operational tasks. An example of workflow automation is the transferring of invoices from law firms to in-house teams to AP departments. With eBilling platforms, the invoice transferring no longer has to be handled by an individual, instead, the invoice arrives to the appropriate approver and sent to AP after approval.

Workflow Management allows workflow automation to be possible and is the management of an organization’s processes and technologies. Workflow management typically involves an organization’s IT department to set up the technology and workflows between different platforms and teams, such as legal departments and AP. Ultimately the goal of workflow management is to improve and organizations efficiency with structured processes.

X

XML is a markup language similar to HTML, but without predefined tags to use. Instead, user define his own tags designed specifically for his needs. This is a powerful way to store data in a format that can be stored, searched, and shared. XML was designed to store and transport data. XML is not a document format, although there are document formats created from XML.
Rather, XML is a grammar (or syntax) for defining mark-up-based document formats. The following is an example of a simple XML document with legal elements.

<Legal>

<Contract>

<Clause>

<Paragraph>

I agree to give you a penny in exchange for your services.

<Paragraph>

<Clause>

<Contract>

<Legal>

Y

Z