Episode 6 – Guest Post – Legaltech, Southern Italy, and contract management. Our unique story (written by Manfredi Domina, Keplera CEO)

Sicily

When one thinks of Southern Italy, visions of the sea, the sun, and delicious food come to mind. However, legaltech is probably not the first concept that arises. The technological revolution, unlike in many businesses, saw Italian legal professionals initially hesitant to embrace the digital transition. This shift has been underway for several years now. With every wave comes a choice: to surf it or to give up.

When I first heard about legaltech ten years ago, the phenomenon was already well-established in several countries, such as the UK and the US, and it was beginning to gain traction in Europe. The UK and the US were, and still are, at the forefront, but intriguing developments were occurring in Northern Europe, where design principles were being applied to contracts, and in France, where highly digitalized processes for repetitive activities in large companies’ legal offices were being studied.

Merging knowledge from universities with the business world, especially law firms, created an extraordinary synergy. It created a new ecosystem where technology, knowledge, and law converged. In Italy, meanwhile, there were only a few companies in this field. I was eager to speak with them, to understand their motivations. So, I did. As a student, I was curious about what drove young talents from not just the legal field but also computer science and other disciplines to view a traditionally conservative world through a different lens. Our story begins far from the country’s technological hubs and the major Silicon Valley players. We chose to revolutionize the legal world from Sicily, specifically from Palermo.

The idea of developing software to manage the lifecycle of legal documents—an all-in-one solution that is easy to use, technologically secure, and capable of meeting the needs of law firms and businesses—stems from a thorough understanding of the traditional lawyer’s role. Mountains of paper, documents, codes, books, and endless hours of meetings for negotiations. Experiencing life within the legal offices of Italian companies has provided us with insights into the recurrent challenges they face daily:

  • Writing contracts requires significant time investment and carries high risk.
  • Sharing and negotiating contracts with general tools increases security risks for all the parties involved.
  • Securing a timely and valid signature is often an underestimated challenge

I would also add that a civil law environment brings additional complications to lawyers and legal professionals.

These observations led us to deeply and pragmatically consider how we could simplify life for companies and the legal professionals, whether within them or supporting them as external consultants. Our vision recognizes that all the aforementioned challenges are interconnected components of the same process, not separate issues.

Managing legal documentation within a company is a significant flow that was previously overlooked. Contracts were just contracts; what mattered was the content. The world today has changed. Business moves quickly, and Italian legal professionals engage with professionals across the globe, applying different and often supranational laws. The landscape is far more complex, and understanding, drafting, and managing these processes enables us to maintain clear rules of engagement and avoid losses, especially in Court.

Our guiding principle in developing software that creates a safe and efficient space for our clients has always been to engage in dialogue with them. Each client brings their own experience and complexity, offering us a glimpse into future challenges, opportunities, or potential problems.

Nowadays, the transition from analog to digital, and from digital to process dominance, inevitably looks towards the integration of artificial intelligence. AI’s applications in Contract Management are numerous and varied, with generative AI being the most apparent. It is expected to draft contracts more efficiently than professionals. For this reason, we find the potential of AI to verify, compare, and validate human activities against current regulations and existing agreements extremely intriguing. We truly believe that artificial intelligence can serve as a guide, helping professionals mitigate risks and avoid errors. This is the direction in which we are focusing our efforts.

In essence, we simply chose to surf our wave.

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