LegalDesign and LegalTech in Azerbaijan

It took me a long time to gather my thoughts to write this article. My name is Mirza Chiragov, I am the CEO of the "Dejured" LLC and I dream that we (lawyers) will become clearer to clients. But not all colleagues will agree with me. Here are the top 5 reasons I hear most often why legal design is not important:
— what is legal design;
— lawyers don’t need pictures;
— we barely convinced the client to sign the contract;
— you can do without it;
— why change something that already works.

Indeed, in countries where the legal culture is still emerging, it seems tempting to ignore unknown methods and skills. But this idea is extremely erroneous, since it is precisely in the beginnings of the formation of a legal culture among lawyers that there is an excellent opportunity to form a functional approach. This includes the following skills:
— working with legal text (legal writing);
— basic skills in visualizing complex material (beneficiary diagram, payment routes, timelines with legal facts, etc.);
— ability to build a legal function (legal ops);
— working with new tools.

Working on the "form" of legal information does not in any way infringe on the "content". In the 21st century, everyone needs to be able to communicate, even lawyers. What is law for if it is incomprehensible to citizens? It is difficult to comply with a regulation, agreement or rule, the essence of which is unclear. Our goal is not to wait for someone to fall into a multi-page trap, but to prevent violations and disputes. For a lawyer, the best dispute is the one that is avoided.
It may seem that we benefit from creating obscure documents and processes in order to profit from clients. But in the long run, this is not beneficial even for lawyers. The less the rules are clear to citizens, the less they:
— comply with these rules;
— use formal institutions.
In addition, the number of not very professional lawyers is increasing, which leads to a decrease in the cost of our services (dumping).
If the rules are clear, they will be followed, and they will often contact lawyers on legal issues (rather than on minor issues).

Effect: growth of legal culture, development of the legal profession and trust in the legal community.
False benefit
LegalTech has become very popular in recent years. Introduction to LinkedIn "LegalTech" and you will see how many specialists there are in this field. But sometimes this is not entirely true.
For example, back in the 80s, marketplaces for lawyers were actively being invented. Was it LegalTech? At that time, yes. Now we have made great strides forward, AI technologies are being introduced, specific problems of lawyers are being solved, and digital government is actively developing. With all this, I identified a number of problems.
  1. Most often only lawyers know the problems of lawyers. In my opinion, if you have a startup in the LegalTech field, you must have an experienced lawyer on your team. Most products turn out to be unnecessary, since lawyers cannot/do not want to use them in their work.
  2. It is difficult to find investors from outside the industry. It is difficult to convince how the product will scale and how regulatory changes will affect it. Another new law may make your product unnecessary or impossible to use.
  3. Not everything is LegalTech. Any technology is somehow connected with regulation. Often, some teams are tempted to call something LegalTech, which is something else. This is not a problem, but it can lead you down the wrong path.

LegalTech features
—  new technology solution (I would not classify the marketplace for lawyers as LegalTech in the 21st century);
—  expediency (the product creates a new solution or improves the previous one, but there is a request for this);
—  feasibility (from a regulatory and technology perspective).
Of course, this is just my opinion as a lawyer, you can disagree with this.
My experience as a practicing lawyer is more than 13 years. At the same time, I worked as a litigator, an in-house lawyer, and supported large projects. Therefore, I can speak the same language with my colleagues and know their problems at work. But even I find it difficult to prove to many lawyers that it is important to use LegalDesign and LegalTech in their work.

I will cite a number of theses from lawyers in the CIS to which I have to respond.

1. Everything works anyway. I agree, but if we were guided by this principle, we would live in caves, since "we already have a roof, why change anything." Innovations in the profession are beneficial to lawyers, but they will be painless if they begin within the community and are not dictated from outside.

2. The sacredness of legal work. After all, if you give the client 2−3 pages of high-quality text instead of 10 pages of an incomprehensible contract, he will not appreciate our work. Of course this is not true. The document should fulfill its function; if it is clear to all parties, there is less chance that it will be violated.

3. The client will not pay for this. It won’t happen if you don’t explain why. And this is our job, to conduct research, show real data, organize conferences not only for lawyers, but also for clients.
LegalDesign and LegalTech in Azerbaijan
I consider my main task in the CIS is the popularization of LegalDesign and LegalTech. The "Dejured" team makes a podcast, we recorded an educational course, and established a Digital Law Laboratory with the Azerbaijan Bar Association. Social relations are developing, all over the world technology is becoming part of our everyday life. The law must be ready to regulate and use modern tools. New ethical challenges await us when using technology. The task of LegalDesign and LegalTech is to develop the law, improve communication between lawyers and citizens, and also keep our society open.
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