16 October 2023

Legal operations: Doing more with less by using technology

Author: Sacha Kirk Insights Resources

For in-house legal teams, the pressure to deliver more for less is increasing year on year.

With economic uncertainties, budgetary restrictions, and the rise of regulatory requirements, in-house legal departments face unprecedented challenges. However, legal tech solutions can serve as a game-changer for generating efficiencies, providing structure, and streamlining complex processes. From matter management to document automation and spend management, advancements in legal technology are paving the way for more efficient, cost-effective operations.

The imperative of efficiency

Happily, legal departments are no longer paper-based. However, receiving instructions, managing workload, drafting documents, capturing data, generating reports, and managing invoices and approvals is still time-consuming. As well as the administrative burden, manual legal processes are also susceptible to human error, and important issues can fall through the cracks. In this digital age, embracing technology isn’t optional—it’s imperative. Legal tech solutions amplify the capabilities of in-house legal professionals, allowing them to focus on tasks that require their unique skills and judgement—supporting them to deliver more value to the organisation by handling more complex legal matters and strategic business focuses.

Matter management: The heart of legal operations

Matter management systems serve as the heart of legal operations, providing a unified view of all matters, contracts, and legal processes. They facilitate efficient data storage and retrieval, ensuring that every detail is at the fingertips of those who need it. With search functionalities, comprehensive dashboards, and analytics tools, in-house legal teams can manage workloads more effectively, maintaining an eagle-eye view of deadlines and bottlenecks.

Imagine a world where emails do not serve as de facto case files, and you do not lose hours of your life looking to verify who approved what and when. Matter management systems consolidate all essential elements—documents, emails, notes, tasks, approvals, reporting, and invoices—into a single, easy-to-navigate platform. This streamlined approach saves time and money, enabling in-house legal professionals to do more with less.

Document automation and document management: A time-saver

If matter management is the heart of legal operations, document automation and document management are the arteries. Creating legal documents often involves repetitive tasks and templates. Document automation tools eliminate this repetition, automating the drafting process by pre-filling standard clauses and terms. With an intuitive user interface, in-house legal teams can customise templates within minutes, ensuring consistent, error-free output.

Moreover, document management systems provide a robust repository for storing, sharing, and retrieving documents. Version control, permission-based access, and smart integrations contribute to a seamless workflow, reducing the time spent locating documents or confirming their latest versions.

Workflow automation: Your personal assistant

Workflow automation software serves as a virtual assistant, managing repetitive, rule-based tasks like matter intake, regulatory workflows, approval processes, delegation of authority, notification alerts, and document routing. By defining workflows, legal teams can standardise their operations, thereby minimising the risk of errors and omissions. This automation translates to faster matter resolutions and a more agile response to clients’ needs.

Collaboration: Empowering communication tools

When working with cross-functional teams, diverse internal clients, and numerous law firms, maintaining open lines of communication and collaboration is essential for successful outcomes. Instead of drowning in emails and tracking down correspondence trails, look to a legal tech platform with specialist communication and collaboration tools built-in. You can keep internal clients abreast of the progress of their legal matters, correspond with them securely, and even grant access to information if required. Likewise, keep law firm communication front and centre in a secure and central location, elevating collaboration and project management. Additional benefits include clever Gantt charts, secure file-sharing features, and email notifications.

Spend management: Optimising legal budgets

Efficient financial management is a cornerstone of any organisation, and in-house legal departments are no exception. Spend management tools help control firm selection and capture and manage multiple fee structures, including fee estimates and fixed and capped fees, thereby enabling better budgetary planning. With features like ebilling, spend tracking, and performance analytics, these tools offer an unfiltered view of the in-house legal department’s financial health.

The road ahead: Integrating technology for seamless operations

While each solution offers significant advantages, the real magic happens when they operate in tandem. An integrated platform that combines matter management, document automation, document management, workflow automation, and spend management facilitates a seamless experience, offering synergies that standalone solutions can’t match. For instance, automated workflows can trigger invoice approvals in the spend management or populate data into the matter management dashboard.

Conclusion

In an era defined by the demand to do more with less, the ability to leverage technology is not just an asset; it’s a necessity. Legal technology tools simplify complex processes, enabling in-house legal professionals to focus on strategic tasks that make a genuine impact. Adopting these tools isn’t about replacing human expertise; it’s about augmenting it.

With the increasing availability of advanced, easy-to-use platforms specialising in in-house legal operations, the question is no longer if technology should be embraced—but how quickly can you adapt to remain competitive in this brave new world.

The bottom line is this: technology is your ally in achieving operational excellence, ensuring you can truly do more with less.

This article was originally published on our sister site lawcadia.com.

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