Legal Department Digital Transformation

Legal Department Digital Transformation

Published on : 05/11/2020 05 November Nov 11 2020

A company’s digital legal transformation is not a simple technical project. It is a major step in the company's development that involves changes in several areas. Tools, work processes and collaboration are constantly changing. Here we share nine key success factors defined from the feedback of our customers' experience over the last 20 years.

1. Legal department digitalization is a business project

Heads of Legal, typically the General Counsel or CLO, are usually responsible for initiating digital transformation projects.

However, they will need visible support from senior management and, even more importantly, in convincing the legal department to join in the new initiative.

It is this endorsement from upper management that makes it possible to accomplish a legal department’s digital transformation under the most favorable conditions.

2. Bringing clear benefits to internal customers

Convincing operational teams is the second essential step. This will be made easier if they find it in their best interest. The key therefore is to highlight the benefits of digital transformation for everyone. 

These include:
  • Saving time by reducing processing times for legal matters
  • Lowering costs to increase productivity 
  • Eliminating boring tasks with no added value
  • Accelerating contract negotiation times for sales representatives, for example

3. Adopting more collaborative governance

Digitizing legal departments has an impact on corporate governance.

Legal processes implemented through business software quite often result in a style shift from vertical to horizontal.  This implies a change in collaboration from less hierarchical to more collaborative.

4. Involving the CIO

All departments are impacted when the legal department is digitized. However, it is not possible to leave each department to itself to digitize on its own.

Legal directors must therefore convince the CIO to move the project forward. 

The CIO’s IT team will be responsible for overseeing data security in the chosen tool.

5. Drawing a new internal customer journey or path

Digital transformation of legal services also involves digitizing the customer journey. This must be clearly defined.  

Selected tools will then have to satisfy this customer journey optimally.

6. Communicate plans

Giving visibility into a digital transformation project’s progress is important.

This will make it easier for legal departments and internal clients to buy in.  

Project schedules should be regularly communicated internally.

7. Get results quickly

Digital transformation implies the questioning of well-established practices.  It is a collective effort that deserves credit.

Demonstrating results and communicating quickly on successes achieved helps maintain everyone's involvement over time.

8. Limit customization of legal software

It may seem simpler at first to modify legal software to adapt it to its users.

However, changing practices to adapt users to the software is a much more sustainable option. 

Yielding to pressure from a few users does not create a differentiating advantage in the long term.

9. Choosing your vendor

Finally, choosing the right partner is crucial to successful digital transformation

This partner should meet the following criteria:
  • Technical mastery
  • Experience in change management
  • Expertise in the legal profession

They must be able to help your teams overcome obstacles before, during and after the deployment of the digital transformation project.


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