Does IT understand the GOALS of Legal When Recommending Technology?

Does IT understand the GOALS of Legal When Recommending Technology?

Published on : 07/03/2023 07 March Mar 03 2023

When it comes to procurement, the IT department often has a lot of say in what technology is implemented at the organization.

After all, they’re typically involved in the implementation and certainly in the maintenance of a system.  But when it comes to the legal department, there are very specific goals to track advice, circulate and maintain company policies, and collaboration with internal clients and outside counsel

This becomes even more important when we discuss record retention and legal hold.
Legal and IT should work together closely when it comes to choosing technology that will support the mission of the Legal Department.

Making Sure Technology is Compliant

The legal team is responsible for ensuring that the company follows all applicable laws and regulations, including data protection, privacy, and cybersecurity laws.  While IT certainly has the experience and understanding of what is possible in the technology universe, Legal is the single source of truth for corporate governance and Federal and State regulatory requirements. IT will spearhead the implementation of maintenance, but Legal understands their processes. By working together, these two departments can identify potential risks and ensure that the organization's technology and systems comply with all relevant laws, regulatory bodies, privacy requirements, and other standards regarding data management.

Mitigating Risk from All Angles

Speaking of risk, mitigating and managing risks is a high priority for both of these departments. It’s in both of their interests to identify and mitigate potential risks related to data breaches, cyber-attacks, or pending litigation. In addition, when a potential risk is identified, both departments should work together, rather than continue to operate in silos, to create and implement appropriate policies and procedures to mitigate the risk.

One example of this is regarding data retention policies.  Legal Hold is a big deal.  While IT may have organized their department by technology type, identifying the custodians and tracking notifications for evidentiary purposes will fall on the shoulders of Legal.  Mapping the ESI custodians during implementation is a key to a successful Legal Hold process. Legal must have a sound method to (a) circulate their record retention policy AND get the acknowledgement from the technology custodians that it is understood no auto-delete mechanisms will be deactivated (b), when a hold is placed, have a clear picture of the ESI mapping to ensure all custodians are notified, and (c) have a clear record of this communication.  Without clear and constant communication between the two departments, risk could arise over data spoliation without either group realizing it until it’s too late.

Aligning with Business Objectives

More and more, legal departments are expected to align their efforts with the overall business objectives of the company and then report on the successes or shortcomings of those efforts. A key component of doing this is having access to data analytics that indicate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This type of reporting isn’t traditionally the role of the legal department, so developing a good relationship with IT can help provide the C-Suite with the information they’re looking for when it comes to departmental performance.


In the same way that translators help different cultures bridge the gap of understanding, Legal and IT departments need to understand the different cultures and needs of their departments. Even simple terminology which appears to have a clear meaning (e.g. “policy”) might mean different things to different departments. Having someone who can speak both tech and legal is very helpful for all stakeholders.

They say communication is important for the success of any relationship, and the relationship between the Legal and IT departments is no different. Working together ensures that the organization complies with all relevant laws and regulations, mitigates and manages risks, and aligns the technology and systems with the organization's business objectives. Otherwise, you’ll continue to have technology procurement woes because one hand doesn’t understand what the other is doing.


About the author:  

Legal Suite is the worldwide leader in digital transformation for lawyers. We have delivered our state-of-the-art software for lawyers and in-house general counsel to 65,000 users for over two decades.


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