Technology and law
LegalFebruary 08, 2023

Evolving your corporate law department into a strategic (risk) advisor

Macro Environment

Corporate Law Departments (CLDs) have been helping manage extraordinary change in the last five years. Data privacy and security regulations have become more stringent and complex. The constant and growing threat of cyber-attacks brings significant reputational risk and penalties. The increased load of compliance with anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and trade regulations as a consequence of sanctioned countries and actors, which change frequently. The impact of the pandemic, which not only had a human toll but also resulted in a myriad of overlapping, conflicting and fast-changing sets of environmental and labor regulations, specific down to a county/building level. The impact of the pandemic and events like the blockage of Suez Canal disrupted supply chains which sent companies scrambling to understand their contractual arrangements. The shift to hybrid work required changing corporate policies to protect the company, the employee and their customers and vendors. According to Gartner’s survey in July 2022, lawyers planned to spend a median of 20% of their time managing business disruption, a 100% increase from the 10% they reported pre-pandemic.

In navigating these issues, the CLD/General Counsel has taken on a bigger role in strategic risk management for the company and is quickly becoming a trusted advisor for the C-suite and the business units in an increasingly connected world where risks propagate across traditional boundaries. The key question they grapple with is how to continue to play that strategic role and keep their seat at the table.

CLD Capability Challenges

As many GCs realize, their capabilities – people, processes, fluency with data and technology have not evolved as quickly as the events of the recent few years. A Gartner survey of corporate lawyers showed that “54% are exhausted to some degree, with 20% scoring as highly exhausted.” This may be partially explained by the culture within their departments may still be reactive and rooted in control or compliance. In addition, they are facing the same challenges faced by many other functions in a company – the war for talent, staff burn-out, having to operate remotely yet maintain internal and external relationships, grapple with new skills like data/analytics, increased workload from fallouts, silos across them and functions like sales, HR, cybersecurity, procurement etc. and a fragmented environment of contracts that define a variety of relationships inside and outside a company – with budget pressures in the face of a potential recession.

Best In Class CLD Response

Forward-thinking GCs realize that the CLDs’ capabilities and culture need to evolve if they want to continue to be at the table and bring their insights to the highest level of decision-making in the company. They need to master scenario planning, drive increased transparency and access, automate transactional work, and balance the workload within the CLD and across their internal and external stakeholders. The latter two are key to re-energizing legal staff and focusing them on the highest risk-value topics. Best-in-class CLDs are looking to increase their spending on technology. 2022 Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer Report indicates that 85% of law departments want to use technology to improve productivity and also bringing new skills into the department, like legal operations that have experience with legal technology, data, analytics, strategic roadmaps, and business process re-engineering.  HBR Consulting’s annual Law Department Survey also revealed that 81% of legal departments have developed a strategic technology roadmap to guide their investments. They understand that selecting the right legal technology and implementing it in their department and extending it to their internal and external counterparts could bring in the economies of scope and scale in this complex environment.

Legisway from Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer has been serving legal professionals in corporations and law firms with cutting edge content, automation and data/analytics for decades.  With our understanding of the unique needs of CLDs, we have recently introduced a next generation, SaaS based platform that helps corporate law departments focus on increased effectiveness across multiple dimensions of risk and activity. Legisway offers a broad set of modules and functionalities including AI-powered CLM, a very simple user interface, and integrations with leading CRMs, all supported by a single database that can house both buy-side and sell-side contracts and custom data elements, enabling a more effective workflow and dialogue within the legal team, and across internal and external stakeholders.

Whether you are focusing on pain points managing contracts and their lifecycle, addressing challenges related to entities, real estate, and intellectual property rights, or balancing automation and workload as the legal team interacts with and supports the broader business; Legisway can do it all – and can scale with your growing business, scope, and workload.

Explore how Legisway can help you and your legal department. Schedule a personalized demo with our product experts today.

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