LegalJanuary 03, 2022

Four ways legal departments are adapting to today’s fast-evolving business climate

This is a guest blog by Bret Baccus of Morae.

In-house legal teams face an ever-increasing volume of legal work in today’s dynamic business environment, complicated by a multitude of competing pressures – notably reducing costs even while the pace of legal work continues to pick up. The hybrid working model has also created additional challenges for legal departments as they consider how the entire business must be managed in light of growing risk amid economic uncertainty and increasing cyberattacks. Some of the ways that departments are improving efficiency and performance include:

Legal service request (LSR)/automated workflows and self-service functionality: By implementing a ticketing system to track the importance, progress, and responsible party for each incoming request, legal departments can shift work away from the department and can automate and standardize intake with business users. An LSR system and process allows legal to avoid spending too much time on low-risk or low-value tasks that could leave the business exposed to contract and compliance risks, among others.

Increased technology adoption: One of the fastest ways legal departments can scale and streamline their processes is by investing in and implementing legal technology. Critical technologies in most legal departments include electronic billing, matter management, document management, and contract management. With the shift in the working environment, the use of e-signatures has increased by 27% and document management by 12% this year. But contract management is the most likely application to be implemented within legal departments in the next 24 months. (Source: CLOC State of Industry Survey Report 2020.)

Use of alternative legal service providers (ALSPs): The use of ALSPs by corporations is catching on and expected to grow in both volume and in the types of services consumed. ALSPs are being used for more than just e-discovery, including document review, IP management, regulatory and compliance, legal drafting, and contract management. In a recent case study, an ALSP reduced contracts turnaround time from 15+ days to 2.6 days, an 83% increase in efficiency. In another, 45% cost savings were realized through phased implementation of service delivery and a customer engagement model, which included realigning of work and resources internally and across external firms. In addition to contracts, compliance is increasing in its evolution with ALSPs. 29% of corporations who currently use ALSPs use them for regulatory risk and compliance services. (Sources: Anonymized Morae case study data and the Thomson Reuters’ Alternative Legal Service Providers 2019 report.)

LegalVIEW® BillAnalyzer: This tool from Wolters Kluwer's ELM Solutions provides AI-powered data analysis that learns from your existing invoice detail line items and occurs prior to your normal approval workflow. The AI highlights potential problems regarding an invoice to the bill review team through an adjustment confidence score. Adjusted invoices from the bill review team will then be sent back to the firm and once returned, will follow your normal approval route.

For more on this topic, see the recording of my session with my Morae colleague Robert Thomas from Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions’ ELM Amplify 2021 User Conference.

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