"Good lawyers don't have to worry about legal tech"

Alisha Andert, winner of the Digital Female Leader Award in the Legal category, reveals how she wants to reform the legal industry and what role legal tech offerings play in this.

Alisha Andert is a fully qualified lawyer and a certified design thinking expert: two worlds that have had little contact until now. With her company This Is Legal Design, which she founded together with Lina Krawietz and Joaquin Santhuber, she now wants to help the legal industry become more client-friendly. In this interview, she talks about the benefits that design thinking can have for lawyers and what role legal tech plays in this.

Ms. Andert, with This Is Legal Design you want to bring design thinking closer to lawyers. Can this method be applied to the legal sector at all?

In my opinion, there's nothing to be said against it. Design thinking means thinking about processes from the user or customer perspective. And lawyers also have customers, only they are called clients. It is actually logical to orient one's own services towards them. So far, however, this has happened rather rarely.

Why can't lawyers get to grips with this concept?

A lot of it already starts in the education. Lawyers have few points of contact with other subjects, although subjects such as political and social sciences actually have a lot of overlap with law. This makes it fundamentally difficult for lawyers to think outside the box and use methods that are not directly related to their field. They often don't believe that a concept like design thinking can be applied to the legal profession.

How do you plan to change that?

First of all, by changing the term. We don't talk about "design thinking", but about "legal design". That way, we can better convince the people we advise that there is a connection to their field here. And we make it clear to them what the benefits are of engaging more with their clients.

What are these?

First and foremost, a change in perception. Take, for example, a legal department in a company whose clients are the other employees. They often perceive the legal team as naysayers and slowpokes, precisely because the processes are often so complex and inaccessible. In extreme cases, this can lead to people trying to tackle projects without the involvement of the legal department if possible, which of course entails certain legal risks. But if the latter becomes more client-friendly, then these differences can be reduced.

And with law firms?

Many people have problems there too, for example because lawyers find it difficult to answer questions clearly. Sometimes, for example, people simply want to know whether they have to pay money for a certain matter. But then many experts don't give a clear answer. Also because we learn from the beginning that it is always about the individual case. Which is actually true, but sometimes difficult for lay people to understand.

You are also chair of the board of the Legal Tech Association Germany. There you helped to ensure that there is now more legal certainty for services such as Flightright thanks to a change in the law. Can these services also help to make legal advice more accessible?

Absolutely, the two go hand in hand. Flightright, wenigermiete.de and others are very low-threshold services for citizens to get legal help. What's most attractive to them is that they work on a "no win, no fee" model. In other words, the client only has to pay if his case is successful.

This is precisely what many lawyers often felt was unfair, as they are not allowed to simply make such offers.

This is exactly what we have now changed with the new Legal-Tech Act. To a certain extent, law firms can now also make such offers. After all, we at the Legal-Tech Association do not see ourselves as purely representing the interests of legal tech companies. Ultimately, we want clients to receive the best possible offers - from whom is irrelevant.

Does something like this also increase the acceptance of legal tech applications among lawyers?

Certainly. But I'm of the opinion that good lawyers don't have to worry about such offers. It's mostly routine work that is outsourced to an algorithm, for example. At This Is Legal Design, we also help our clients use appropriate small works trains. In the end, something like this also relieves lawyers.

Thank you very much for the interview.

Personal details: Alisha Andert is co-founder of the consulting agency This Is Legal Design and chair of the board of the Legal Tech Association Germany. Previously, she was Head of Legal Innovation at the start-ups Chevalier and Flightright. Andert completed her law studies in Potsdam and Amsterdam and learned Design Thinking at the Hasso Plattner Institute.

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