By Sam Kidd, CEO and Co-founder of LawVu
In a time of massive technological advancement, businesses everywhere are taking a second look at their current practices and tools to determine what where they can increase productivity and cut costs, considering a possible recession. For in-house legal departments, some of the busiest, under-resourced, and expensive teams within any organization, implementing technology to increase employee efficiency is critical to a company’s bottom line. In fact, legal technology spending is expected to increase to 12% by 2025, a threefold increase from 2020, according to Gartner.
With numerous new technology options emerging that exist to solve various pieces of a team’s workflow, concerns are constantly floating around regarding best tech practices. The 2022 In-House Legal Technology Report (the Report), a newly released piece of research conducted with 500 in-house lawyers and legal operations professionals across the US and UK, provides insights on legal technology and workflow efficiencies. The Report concludes that the industry faces three big challenges, as well as sheds light on potential solutions to these concerns.
Challenge #1: 90% of in-house teams work in three or more management systems
For busy legal departments, the dream is a management tool that does it all in one place. Even as one of the largest request-heavy departments in the business, a whopping 90% of in-house legal teams are managing tasks with three or more software vendors. Alarmingly, 33% are using more than five vendors. Most of these platforms are not built for legal teams specifically but are common workflow, ticketing, and collaboration tools utilized by the wider business. For a team as highly requested and busy as corporate legal departments, it can certainly be challenging to gauge an accurate picture of workflows when managing work across multiple solutions.
Challenge #2: In-house lawyers are losing precious time
Lawyers are speedy superheroes when it comes to resource and responsibility, yet there never seems to be enough time to get to everything on the docket.
The Report uncovered that 77% of in-house legal teams spend over one hour per day switching between various systems for a complete view of their work, with a significant 39% spending three hours or more.
The Report found that other time-wasting tasks include:
45% spend over three hours a day on team management, including determining workload capacity, the status of individual tasks, and managing internal processes
40% spend over three hours a day on searching through emails or other systems to determine legal matter history or advice from outside counsel
40% spend over three hours a day on back and forth with the wider business to gather complete information or share updates on the status of work
With the average US salary of a legal counsel being $201,277 and CLO/General Counsel being
$503,078 (2019 figures, Major, Lindsey & Africa) implementing legal workplace technology translates into significant potential cost savings for the business and more time back in the hands of the legal team.
Challenge #3: In-house legal struggles to prioritize bigger picture tasks
Many lawyers move in-house to influence broader business outcomes and play a meaningful role in organizational success. 92% of report respondents believe that time spent on manual daily activities not only takes time and effort away from larger business goals but can also affect timely service.
With legal teams stuck in a silo of high-frequency tasks, it’s no surprise there’s no time for focusing on their bigger picture impact on the business.
Tackling inefficiencies with a full-suite solution
Workflows have been transforming at lightning speed to adapt to the challenges as an outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an increasing need for organized workspaces, proper management solutions, and the implementation of functional technology to create connection and optimal productivity.
Beyond COVID-19, legal departments are tackling several inefficiencies that impact both legal and the wider business. Most of these inefficiencies are a direct result of the technology utilized, or rather, not utilized, within corporate legal teams.
The legal tech space is in a rapid growth period, presenting a unique opportunity for corporations to invest in tech designed to empower their legal team. Given a possible recession, the power to get more out of a businesses’ legal team is more important than ever.
Switching to a new system can seem daunting, but the legal industry is ready to take the plunge. In fact, 85% of US respondents and 95% of UK respondents believe that moving to a consolidated solution would be a beneficial change.
With a single source of truth platform designed specifically for in-house legal teams, the loss of time and efficiency that troubles in-house legal dissolves. As all matters, communications, and context sit in one accessible solution, in- house legal teams can gather a complete view of workflow and resource, giving time back and increasing productivity. With explicit in-house legal technology comes the opportunity to integrate with popular business management and collaboration tools, so in-house legal teams can continue to formulate connections and communication with the business, without leaving the system they spend their days in.
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