A legal deparment’s collaborative intelligence is defined by its members’ ability to interact with internal and external partners to ensure synergy and productivity. Therefore, the implementation of specialized softwares is key in acheiveing the objectives a company entrusts to its legal department.
Olivier Fischer, General Director of Legal Suite Canada, leading global provider of Enterprise Legal Technology®, provides insights on the impact these new strategic work methods and implementation tools have on legal departments.
How does collaborative intelligence impact a legal departement’s activities?
In the last 10 years, we have observed an evolving collaborative trend between lawyers not only within legal departments, but also in the interdepartmental activites they play an active part in. This is partly due from the impact of ever-evolving technologies made available to organizations, as well as the need for businesses to optimize processes and reduce costs.
This trend was reinforced by the market about three years ago, at which point we focused on the digital transition of our company, including enhancing our data security offer. In fact, using software dedicated to improving collaboration enhances a firm’s competitiveness by automating the exchange of information, implementing validation procedures as well as case tracking systems.
How do you explain this trend?
The use of general tools that are not specifically geared to in-house counsels, such as spreadsheets, can no longer meet the challenges companies are currently facing with regards to efficiency.
In fact, companies face rising pressure from increased workloads, more demanding clients, and shorter deadlines. It is why legal departments are seeking to be more efficient and up to date with market standards so as to quickly and accurately respond to the demands of their internal clientele. Such high operational standards must be accompagnied by the right set of tools.
It is the reason for which Legal Suite developped its Collaborative portal, LS Open Law®. This platform offers the streamlining of processes, permits an office to go paperless, allows for realtime collaboration within secured interactive workspaces.
How do these tools increase productivity within a legal department?
Implementing these kinds of tools factors into the overall competitiveness and strategic management of a legal department. They have a direct impart on a legal department’s ability to develop its collaborative intelligence while coping with ever-increasing budgetary constraints.
However, although there is increased awareness among in-house lawyers, very few are adopting these solutions. Many still use traditional means of exchanging information that bring them no added performance value. Others have developed their own centralized databases, which can be very effective company culture encourages information sharing.
However since these solutions are not specifically designed for legal department needs, dedicated tools, such as Legal Suite’s software suite, remain the best option to address the unique challenges they face.
What’s the added value of Legal Suite’s Collaborative portal LS Open Law®?
Legal Suite’s Open Law Collaborative enhances a team’s productivity in many ways.
Any collaborative effort is based on centralizing information. All communications made through Legal Suite’s Open Law portal are archived, allowing for case progress tracking wihout having to search through one’s email history.
Two-way information sharing between legal departments and its external partners generates an instant capacity for action. Our portal ensures that the company’s organizational memory is preserved through these exchanges. In the event of a dispute, for example, it is possible to audit and gather together all documents related to a case, and establish the strategy the company will adopt to manage the case.
How does Legal Suite’s offer differ from its competitors?
Our 16 years of experience in developping new technologies for the legal market positions us to effectively manage the challenges and difficulties that arise when an organization undergoes the process of internally developping and implementing these kinds of tools.
When an organization decides to develop a tool internally, lawyers and software developers have a hard time communicating about it because they are not speaking the same workplace language. The development process, therefore, tends to be long and tedious. In addition, developers are mostly recruited to create the software, and leave a few months after the installation is complete. Often no one is left to take care of maintainance and follow-up issues, and software development is not planned for throughout the company’s use of the tool.
Recognizing this workplace reality, we have combined our legal expertise and our technical performance: our corporate structure is composed of legal specialists with a practical vision of their profession who are sensitive to lawyers’ needs and to the time constraints they face, and technical experts who thrive at the forefront of new technologies. The added value we provide lies in our R&D phase and in our follow-ups with customers once our software has been implemented into their work environment. This approach ensures that legal departments obtain the greatest return on their investment.
In your opinion, how will the legal departments' collaborative needs develop going forward?
Legal departments are gradually opening up communication pathways with their internal clientele and positioning themselves as partners rather than departments within a firm. Legal technology applications evolve alongside modern economic modes and the ever-increasing rise of new technologies.
The need for legal departments to improve the quality of their interactions and increase their productivity is increasingly crucial to corporate success, and, ultimately, can justify an increase in their departmental budget to better manage their growing workload.