Article-1 | PracticeLeague
Accelerating the adoption of long-predicted technology habits for Legal Ops: Time is ripe.

Response to business challenges involves innovation and continual investment in Legal Operations. The focus is to optimize on people, processes, and functions.

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usiness operations and legal functions go hand-in-hand but do not necessarily keep pace with each other in the face of the ever-changing business landscape. The use of technology for legal service delivery was an alien term until recent times, as there was a need 'not felt' to align legal departments with mainline corporate functions. To date, it is at a nascent stage for companies in general. Of course, a few who have enabled tools well ahead of others confirm that they can meet their twin goals to achieve Operational efficiency and Capitalize on human resources.

As the effect of the global pandemic continues to reverberate the world in general, businesses had come to a grinding halt practically overnight. Legal operations tools, to some extent, have enabled bridging the gap between teams as well as to revolutionize everyday activities. This is just the beginning, as "technology will drive the future course of action". There are a number of benefits as tools for legal ops can help manage costs and improve processes in real-time. To this end-

  • Integration of legal ops does not require any major overhaul or a makeover to your existing systems. One size does not fit all. Bespoke legal ops for a personalized experience.
  • From end-to-end contract management to workflow automation, legal ops are great tools to parse through massive unstructured data with ease, accuracy, and speed.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning capabilities for legal operations helps trace inconsistencies, detect errors, and extract relevant information through meaningful patterns.
  • One step at a time. Technology innovation is taking place at a rapid pace. If it is about Block-Chain and Cloud today, it is Robo Lawyers tomorrow.

Legal Ops operate on a 'self-serve' model.

The brick and mortar legal delivery system for high-quality services has yielded mixed results till date. The solution to this conundrum is the use of ops to prioritize workload and workflow. The easy way to describe the goal of legal operations is to take on these tasks and let lawyers focus on their core.
If smart contracts have the potential to save time, reduce costs on manual functions, paperwork procedures, and intermediary involvement, Document Management is an excellent tool for overall visibility; Enterprise Legal Management almost manages the day-to-day legal tasks for the organization and parse through vast piles of unstructured data with speed and accuracy. This is not all. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities of these tools of today can address inconsistencies and reviews as well as provide a whole host of solutions based on predictive analysis and cognitive abilities.

It is about accomplishing ‘more with less’- KPIs for Corporate Legal Operations.

  • Do your contracts measure up for the uncertain times?
  • What is your total legal spend in terms of percentage of revenue?
  • Collaboration with teams, access and control
  • Total allocation of budget Vs actual spend-external counsels, fees, arbitrators all to be taken on account
  • Resource allocated Vs realizations

Making a fit case

In an independent survey conducted by CLOC in 2019, highlights that legal operations functions can be adopted to “improve transparency, efficiency, quality and consistency of work, and speed of execution.” 72% of respondents reported having a technology roadmap for legal operations. They also believe that workflow automation, robotic process automation, machine learning are promising technologies that can shape up the legal industry for the future.

Understandably, from the perspective of a Legal Counsel, it is an uphill task to convince management to subscribe to the right legal ops at this juncture. But doing so will prevent roadblocks along the way. Whether it is about collaboration between teams, preparing for the unprecedented, visibility and access or mitigation of overall impact in a situation such as COVID19, a long-term sustainable solution is a key to address growing legal complexities. Ms. Payal Khanna, Legal (Head), Volvo Cars, points out, "We need a business case and justify to the board that legal needs to have an innovative platform."

Demonstrating value for investment in Legal tech cannot be justified only in terms of ROI. For teams, it is about adding overall value, bringing efficiency by managing workflows better, and fostering an agile business culture within organizations.

There is no denying of the fact that technology is a key differentiator for business and law practice. Take stock of the issues, align KPIs with the overall business objectives, and fill in the gap with the right legal ops. To this end, the time is just right, and the need to have legal operations tools cannot be more pronounced today; albeit, with a word of caution. Mindful investment.