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The interplay between technology and law with Elisabet Dahlman Löfgren

Hello there, and welcome to the start of our exciting new blog series! We're diving into the world of digitalisation and innovation in equity management and private equity. In our very first conversation, George is talking to the Head of Knowledge Management and Learning at Mannheimer Swartling, Elisabet Dahlman Löfgren. We are touching on the interplay between technology and law, the opportunities as well as some challenges ahead.



What are some of the challenges law firms are facing when it comes to digitalisation?

Certainly, digitalisation comes with mainly two types of challenges. Firstly, the time to implement - when we receive requests from our clients, who are both European and American, converting those requests into effective systems demands a significant time investment. Moreover, the requirements are increasing with GDPR, data security, traceability and more. Clients, with their unique routines, preferences, and systems, necessitate adaptability on our part. Secondly, change management is of course a challenge. Our industry is fast-paced, neither our lawyers nor our clients have much spare time to implement change or to learn new systems.


“Moreover, the requirements are increasing with GDPR, data security, traceability and more. Clients, with their unique routines, preferences, and systems, necessitate adaptability on our part.”

What are you excited about when talking about innovation in your industry?

So much is being improved through implementation of new systems which is very exciting for a compulsive improver like me. More so, there are so many opportunities out there. We can’t do everything but if we choose the right systems, we will be able to improve ourselves as well as the results for our clients. We are also enabled to do more things with new systems. I’m also excited to see what new roles are being created in order to bridge the gap between us and technology.


We can’t talk about innovation without asking, what are your views on AI / ML?

AI will bring significant shifts but I think we overestimate the short-term impact and underestimate the long-term impact. Implementation hurdles exist due to regulatory uncertainties, IP ownership, and legal considerations. Until we know how court will treat these matters we will have challenges in implementing AI completely. An older example is token-based digital promissory notes payable to order which still haven’t been supported in a court case.


Lawyers and investment professionals are not known for being early adopters, how do you encourage the adoption of new tools and technologies within the firm?

For some tools, ease of use and substantial impact lead lawyers to adopt seamlessly. Take our user-friendly translation system, for example - its impressive results have led to effortless adoption. Collaboration tools, however, are harder to implement and demand strategic change management. Consistent nudging, clear instructions, and showcasing benefits form the strategy.


Can you provide any specific examples of how your firm has embraced technology to enhance the offering/service to its customers?

Certainly. An example is Techquity - we identified a need in fundraising processes which gave birth to the idea of the company. Developed alongside partners, it streamlined fundraising through digital forms and client portals. Another instance is our in-house speech-to-text tool. While it saves hours of work, it adds a bit of administrative time, e.g. for upload, which creates frustration. Striking the importance measuring and communicating user benefits.


We see that as well - it is challenging to make a stakeholder appreciate the joint benefits from changing their process and implement a system.

Exactly.


“Equity management showcases digitalisation's transformative impact that benefits so many different stakeholders.”

And when it comes to equity management, which role do you see technology play going forward?

Equity management showcases digitalisation's transformative impact that benefits so many different stakeholders. Digitisation not only boosts efficiency but also enhances work quality, such as through innovative data visualisation methods.


Naturally I have to ask why MSA Innovation Lab choose Centi as its 2023 partner?

Generally we want to partner with companies we can learn from and whose products benefit us and our clients. Centi aligns perfectly, solving challenges for both. We like the product and believe in the team, and their developmental stage suits MSA Innovation Lab. Partnering also allows us to influence product development in line with our working ethos.


Lastly, can you tell us a bit more about MSA Innovation Lab?

Innovation and digitalisation has to be integrated into the organisation - it can’t be developed on the side. However, MSA Innovation Lab serves as a central hub for our teams, fostering collaboration and connection. We drive initiatives, gathering knowledge and experts, empowering our employees and partners alike.


Thank you Elisabet for the interview and for sharing your insights!

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