Now is the perfect time to evolve Legal’s role and brand image for the path ahead. Here’s how to boldly do so, for the future of Legal and the growth of your business.
When it comes to the relationship dynamic between Legal and the enterprise as a whole, an irrefutable Perception Paradox exists: While nearly four in five (78%) enterprise employees around the world* view Legal as stellar business protectors and good advisors, only one in four (27%) view Legal as a good business partner.
Corporate employees understand that Legal is just doing its job — and they believe Legal is doing it quite well. In the end, however, true success cannot be attained without inclusivity and collaboration.
Here are five opportunities for Legal to bridge gaps, improve alliances within the enterprise, and jumpstart greater overall impact on material growth, topline revenue generation, and bottom-line efficiency:
- Evolve the Department of “No”: Although 22% ELR Report respondents consider Legal the “no” police, 48% believe that the department is actively trying to cut red tape, minimize bureaucracy, and help accelerate deal cycles. Legal can capitalize on this perception by making the conscious effort to modernize processes in ways that cultivate further flexibility and adaptation. By challenging legacy paradigms and replacing them with new structures and optimized processes, Legal can find itself asking “How can we help?” far more often than having to say no.
- Spark Efficiency with Tech: The mainspring and linchpin of a modern legal department is its state-of-the-art technology. By working with corporate IT to drive the implementation and adoption of comprehensive enterprise legal management (ELM) and contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions, Legal will not only maximize savings, increase operational efficiency, and enhance collaboration, but also introduce and leverage forward-thinking tools that can serve the entire enterprise.
- Solve the Need for Speed: Artificial intelligence (AI) can provide this impact Legal needs to work both smarter and faster. With automation, Legal can help streamline workflows and integrate data-driven decision making into standard processes, distilling complex and lengthy tasks and enhancing speed by at least 25%. A bonus: When combined with ELM solutions, process automation was found to cut business operating costs by as much as 90%!
- Bear the Torch for DEI: Most CEOs will tell you that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is of utmost importance to their organization. However, the perception among employee respondents is that much of what is said may not be translating to what is done as only 50% believe DEI is treated as a priority, and barely 25% believe that vendor diversity matters to the enterprise. But if Legal is a protector —and there is no greater purpose in the role of protector than sheltering the heartbeat of an enterprise, its people— this is a distinct advantage to embolden the department with new initiatives of respect, communication, and cooperation. That way, Legal becomes an advocate for empowering the outlooks and opinions of many divergent others, both in the workplace and world at large.
- Bring the Insight: More than three out of four (76%) enterprise employees feel that Legal manages data security governance well. However, when it comes to security, there is no such thing as half secure or almost secure. Security needs to be 100%, or it simply isn’t secure. With Legal’s involvement in countless confidential and sensitive matters, and with most legal professionals being inherently strategic thinkers, it is a natural leap that this an opportunity for Legal to become more contributory to the company’s data analytics and protection. In doing so, Legal will become a more visible and even more valued business partner, ensuring both the physical protection and cybersecurity of its constituents.
Become the Hero Your Enterprise Needs
As poet Langston Hughes once remarked, “The only way to get a thing done is to start to do it, then keep on doing it.” By aligning and partnering with corporate functions and anticipating how to meet ever-evolving needs, Legal will pivot the Perception Paradox. By championing open communication, resetting expectations, and holding the enterprise to forward-facing standards, Legal can transform its brand and perception on the way to creating a better future, having greater material impact for its businesses, and standing out not for the old reasons but the right ones.
Spark your revolution of evolution today by downloading ELR Report Chapter 1.
*The ELR Report is a third-party, multinational study of 4,000 enterprise employees and 500 corporate legal professionals across the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany intended to showcase relationship dynamics and perceived image between corporate legal teams and enterprise organizations.