The Ultimate Guide For Legal Departments to Directly Influence Business Materiality, Growth and Efficiency

The full report has been released, illuminating opportunities for legal departments to elevate their relationships, revolutionize their brand image, and optimize their material impact and growth. How? By becoming more modern, efficient, and interactive business partners, thanks to smarter technology.

Our world is an intricate network of relationships sparked by interactions. More than a century ago, quantum theory revealed that in the absence of interaction, nothing possesses any properties. It is simply impossible to separate the behavior of atomic systems from their interactions.

Legal operations is no different. Collaboration is essential for Legal to fully influence its businesses. However, in chapter 1 of the 2023 Enterprise Legal Reputation (ELR) Report, principal concerns emerged from 4,000 enterprise employees regarding the perceptions of Legal’s responsiveness, communication, and workflow. Chapters 2 and 3 of the ELR Report bring to light the perspective of the other side — 500 corporate legal professionals spanning the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and France — and provide a plan for legal professionals who wish to move beyond being a back-office function to become a true partner, change agent, and material influencer.

Business today travels practically at the speed of light. In this uncertain economic time when companies are seeking greater operational and cost efficiency, both speed and spend distill down to agility: How can people produce more quickly? How can process be streamlined so work is accomplished faster and nothing is left on the table?

The answer lies in the third element of our triangulated PPT (people, process, and technology) framework: technology. With technology, Legal can evolve to impact every corner of the enterprise, from sales negotiations and revenue acquisition to competitive differentiation and corporate culture.

Seeing the Light: Putting a Spotlight on Interactions and Subsequent Actions

Chapter 1 of the 2023 ELR Report showed that internal clients’ quality of interactions with Legal noticeably decreased for every function year-over-year (YoY). The remaining chapters uncover that Legal’s levels of positive collaboration have also fallen across every department. Further, for the second year in a row, there is incongruity: The percentages of legal respondents citing good or excellent interactions are considerably higher than the percentages reported by corporate employees. With some functions like Sales, Legal’s numbers are more than double (66% vs. 30%). For Procurement, that figure tripled, with two in three (67%) legal respondents acknowledging positive interactions, compared to barely one in five (22%) employees.

What’s more, over nine in 10 (91%) legal professionals fully acknowledge that other departments bypass their team. When examining why, Legal cites the same reasons as internal clients. More than one in three (36%) legal professionals consider the department bureaucratic; a similar amount (35%) specifies the belief that Legal lacks understanding of business needs. Yet these figures are five and 12 percentage points higher than those of corporate employees. And most astonishingly, more than half (53%) of the department believes it is perceived as slowing employees down, compared to just three in 10 (30%) employee respondents saying the same.

As it turns out, Legal can be its own harshest critic — and is well aware that its relationships are being tested and stressed in this difficult macroeconomic climate.

Barriers to Modernization and the Impact on Business

Although Legal longs to transform into a faster and more efficient business partner, the ELR Report discovered several obstacles in its path. Nearly four in 10 (37%) legal professionals believe a lack of budget for modern solutions is holding them back from providing positive experiences for internal clients, while a similar percentage (36%) cites a lack of technology solutions. One in three (34%) also feels that leadership does not value efficient workflows.

When it comes to contract management, one in five (21%) legal respondents invests six to eight hours — their entire workday! —on contract lifecycle management (CLM). Still, only 22% say contracts are managed efficiently, and the effects of inefficient CLM are significant: more than half (49%) fear deal closures and revenue generation are affected, as do 43% regarding vendor procurement and 29% for M&A and partnerships. However, only slightly more than half (52%) of legal professionals say their CLM is currently automated.

Legal plays a significant role in materiality. Six in 10 (60%) legal respondents feel internal clients recognize their Legal’s role in positively impacting company revenue. Nearly three in five (59%) say the same about sales negotiations. And even in a year besieged by domino-effect supply chain catastrophes, Legal believes its impact on vendor procurement is felt, with more than half (56%) confident it is perceived as enabling faster acquisition of tools and services.

Embracing next-generation technology can skyrocket efficiency, responsiveness, and communication, as well as generate even greater material growth and help manage cost containment. Technology, often a direct innovation of quantum theory itself, is the beating heart of modernization. It expands the way we think, giving us pathways to explore cutting-edge concepts with radical new vision. And it connects us in ways we could have only once envisioned.

Collaborate with people.

Accelerate process.

Innovate technology.

For those with courage, this is Legal’s shining moment to boldly take control and metamorphosize into a more interactive protector, partner, and material powerhouse to catalyze lasting influence for the future. Because the future of Legal is here today.

Download the 2023 Enterprise Legal Reputation (ELR) Report today to discover how both corporate employees and legal professionals view their interactions and collaboration and ways in which Legal can evolve its relationships and brand image to impact revenue generation, growth, and operational efficiency more positively.

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