A smooth collaboration between in-house counsels and their partners through the use of new technology is a key driver for profitability and a major challenge for legal departments. Indeed, for about 10 years, the development of specialized softwares has allowed them to structure their workflow, collaborate in real time, and communicate on their performance through reliable indicators. How do technologies transform legal departments? What are the impacts generated by the implementation of these softwares? These are some of the questions answered by our team at Legal IT 2017 in Montreal.
On March 23rd, Legal Suite participated in the 11th edition of the Legal IT conference in Montreal, a must-go event for legal and new technology professionals. Legal IT was an opportunity for Legal Suite, leading global provider of Enterprise Legal Technology®, to share its insights on the innovations developed by our teams to foster the profitability of in-house counsels.
A LEGAL TECH BOOM
The legal environment is going through a time of unprecedented rapidity of change. Indeed, businesses require legal departments to be trusted counsellors and strategic partners. As a result, they have to use the right tools to understand the competitive challenges of the organization and their own department. To face this transformation, traditional matter management solutions (office suites, electronic messaging, etc.) are often inefficient.
To this can be added the impact on businesses of the Canadian and global social and economic environment: the slowdown of the economy generated by the 2008 financial crises, the globalization of trades, the access to the labor market of the X and Y generations, as well as the development of new technologies. All these factors generate major changes leading to matter management automation solutions (contracts production, invoice tracking, validation workflows automation, deadlines anticipation, reports creation, etc.).
These changes are forcing in-house counsels to adapt to new softwares and applications and strengthen their knowledge in IT such as computer programming. Data collection and processing, electronic matter management, artificial intelligence, and the use of these new tools have become a competitive advantage and a new growth driver for legal departments.
This is why this dynamic environment acted as a breeding ground for the development of start-ups and legal tech, several of which attended Legal IT.
FACILITATING COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION WITHIN THE LEGAL DEPARTMENT: AN IMPACT ON BUSINESS PROFITABILITY
The development of computing tools plays a central role in these changes and facilitates the communication and collaboration of legal departments with their partners. Indeed, unlike law firms, in-house counsels activity is multidisciplinary and closer to management functions, as they have a comprehensive and deep understanding of the company’s business environment. Therefore, their success depends on their ability to collaborate and communicate with their internal and external partners. Cost reduction and workflows optimization of in-house counsels is even more relevant today as a growing number of businesses prefer to develop their internal legal department rather than using external law firms.
The development of tailored softwares allow them not only to improve the department’s profitability, but also the organization’s as a whole.
HOW DO LEGAL COLLABORATIVE WORKING SOFTWARES CAN IMPROVE PERFORMANCE?
Developed to address profitability and collaboration challenges, softwares and tools tailored to the optimization of in-house counsels workflow help them to address profitability requirements.
- Integrating specialized softwares with existing tools within the organization to leverage their capacity
Softwares dedicated to legal departments can integrate directly with tools and resources already being used within the company, such as electronic messaging and office softwares. Without replacing them, these softwares can optimize available tools while incorporating additional layers and functionalities to leverage their capacity. Consequently, exchanges are digitalized and the communication with their team and organization simplified.
- Facilitating exchanges within the legal department to better control its activity
Requests and processes centralization within a working space shared with the entire legal department allows for many indicators: total number of handled cases, number of cases per lawyer, requests allocations and sources. These indicators allow for a better management of the department’s activity through measurement and classification.
As a result, the internal organization is optimized, and the tracking of key performance indicators simplified. It is hence easier for in-house counsels to identify their activity profitability, inform General Management, and ensure a voice in strategic decision making processes.
- Improving and automating communications with the whole organization to bring together the associates around measurable results
Requests management, legal consulting, negotiations, legal documents writing: the role of in-house counsels is complex and generates many interactions with all the business departments. Processes automation and availability of legal documents to other departments in a unique collaborative platform allow for a better communication between counsels and their internal clients.
For which objective? Facilitate exchanges, optimize requests management, plan and communicate on the department’s performance to federate the whole company around its action. The in-house counsel thus become a project manager and strategic partner who can address profitability objectives.
The development of automation processes and real-time notifications for new requests and their sorting, are among many examples showing productivity gains.
LS OPEN LAW® COLLABORATIVE PORTAL: A LEGAL SUITE SOLUTION TAILORED TO LEGAL DEPARTMENTS
The LS Open Law® Collaborative Portal developed by Legal Suite is a good example of a tool dedicated to the collaboration between in-house counsels and their partners: an efficient and profitable way to empower legal departments and help them face competitive challenges.
Consult the LS Open Law® Collaborative Portal presentation and interview of Legal Suite Canada’s CEO to learn more about collaborative working tools and their impact on legal departments’ productivity.