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HomeEuropeELTA Predictions: Central and Eastern Europe

ELTA Predictions: Central and Eastern Europe

Belarus

The most recent study on the automation of legal activities in Belarus was carried out in 2021. It depicted a clear dissatisfaction among lawyers with the current level of automation. Issues around high costs of solutions and lack of clarity regarding the real-world benefits of these implementations were also raised.

A subsequent survey conducted this year queried lawyers — both within law firms and legal departments — about the progression of the legal tech landscape over the past couple of years. The also survey questioned how generative AI has impacted their tasks, and the areas they wish to see improved in 2024. Most respondents, about 70%, represented in-house lawyers.

With a relatively modest sample size, the survey revealed the following:

The years past have seen several shifts in the legal function automation:

  • Introduction of one or multiple point solutions (29%)
  • Development of an automation roadmap and process optimization (11%)
  • Formation of a distinct Legal Operations/Legal Tech division (less than 5%)
  • Lack of any significant change for about 35% of respondents

In the coming year, the focus areas for automation, as per the lawyers, include:

  • Contractual work (29%)
  • Documentation (9%)
  • Claims and litigation (12%)
  • Legal information search and analytics (6%)
  • Task management (11%)
  • Knowledge management (13%)
  • Compliance (particularly sanctions) (20%)

Experiences with AI revealed that more than 40% of lawyers have explored generative AI, mostly Chat GPT, for non-legal tasks like drafting alerts, posts, and cover letters. However, less than 3% reported using AI for their legal tasks. Trust in AI for the purpose of legal tasks continues to stay relatively low.

Based on these findings, it’s predicted that in 2024, the adoption of Legal Tech will remain consistent with previous years. The priority will likely tilt towards solutions aiming at sanction compliance and contract work, particularly in instances where immediate, significant benefits from automation can be achieved. As for AI, its usage is expected to expand mainly within law firms for non-legal tasks, such as marketing and back-office operations.

Natallia Seniuta

ELTA Ambassador Belarus

Croatia

While there seem to be no significant changes in the Croatian legal tech landscape, things are certainly happening under the hood of more and more law firms and in-house legal departments. With the arrival of more tech-savvy partners into decision-making positions, legal tech tools are being introduced at an accelerated rate. Also, the ChatGPT craze did not circumvent Croatian lawyers, albeit the ongoing privacy issues still halt its quicker deep integration.

What is still lacking in Croatia, and maybe 2024 may change this, are some genuine legal tech vendors. Currently, the landscape is mainly covered with case management software and a few shy online service options (in the form of document automation). Small market size discourages potential Croatian tech entrepreneurs, who primarily seek to hit the global market. Still, moderate optimism is prevalent, and some new players should emerge soon.

Marko Porobija

ELTA Ambassador Croatia, Managing Partner, Porobija & Špoljarić

Georgia

LegalTech in Georgia is expanding and impacting both the public and private sectors. Along with the digitization of state authorities and the presence of LegalTech startups and companies, including Lawformer, LawTech Georgia, New Law Georgia, CryptoEthica, and Signify, innovation is actively shaping the country’s legal landscape. 

In this direction, more developments are anticipated in 2024, and particularly in the private sector, where law firms are expected to embrace LegalTech solutions. Tailored products will address their needs, drive interest and integration, and pave the way for technology-enabled legal services. 

Georgia has made significant efforts to integrate LegalTech into education, and there is a high likelihood that this initiative will lead to more institutions and academics being interested in teaching and integrating LegalTech into curriculum. It is expected that this will lead to a further expansion in the adoption of LegalTech tools and the growth of LegalTech education in academic institutions in 2024.

Nino Jibuti

ELTA Ambassador Georgia, In-House Lawyer Lawyer, Allen & Overy

Poland

Next year we will see a continuation of a current situation on the Polish legal tech market. Due to limited technology investments made by small and medium law firms we may expect further consolidation among legal tech vendors (mainly their acquisitions made by bigger legal tech providers or tech vendors who want to enrich their offer).

At the same time in-house legal departments will increase their spendings on software implementations. However, their first-choice tools will rather be a professional business solutions than legal tech tools (mainly due to lack of adaption to the client’s needs). Legal tech vendors who will bet on interoperability and integrations of their tools may gain some advantage. In particular, in case of tools used by law firms, those who provide integrations with public services.

By 2025 we will notice an increase of a need for the use of data management and data analysis tools, in particular those with secure and confidential AI. Although we noticed a growth of interest in the use of the Generative AI tools, they will not be used broadly in 2024 by law firms due to confidentiality issues. Nevertheless, use of GAI will increase on consumer services market. 

Following 2023 we will see continuation of the lack of paralegals and young qualified lawyers who prefer being an in-house lawyer than being employed by law firms. Such trend will also increase a need for the use of software tools in fields related to optimalizations of processes and costs. Additionally, big law firms’ and big in-house legal departments’ need for non-lawyer staff (e.g. LegalOps specialist, legal engineers) will also grow.

Przemysław Barchan

ELTA Ambassador Poland, Founder & Advocate, Barchan Legal

Ukraine

In Ukraine, 2024 will be illuminated by the profound influence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in legal tech. The zeitgeist leans toward AI’s integrative potential, with emergent startups unveiling MVPs powered by generative AI under hackathons, revolutionizing legal research and operations. Under “Incredible Tech” report and “Tech Ecosystem Overview” the most popular LegalTech products right now are Document and Contract Management, Legal Research and IP protection. Echoing a societal resonance, recent hackathons have unveiled groundbreaking solutions which are unique for Ukraine but can scale abroad also. There are simplifying bureaucratic complexities for military personnel and manifesting support for war-affected orphans. Moreover, there’s an anticipatory air surrounding products that will embody the realms of mediation and Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platforms. Such upcoming tech advancements signify a year ahead marked by meaningful solutions that will resonate profoundly, heralding an era where technology is a beacon of resolution access to justice in Ukraine.

Peter Bilyk

ELTA Ambassador Ukraine, Head of Technology and Investments, Juscutum

Photo by Lara Jameson: https://www.pexels.com/photo/blue-pushpins-on-administrative-map-of-europe-8828587/

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