In today’s business world, achieving universal goals such as transparency, efficiency gains, and data analysis comes through the combination of skilled personnel and software. The discipline of legal operations is no exception; just glance at the world’s leading legal operations teams. They all rely on tailor-made legal operations tools in their daily work.
The scope of legal technology an organization deploys strongly correlates with the level of maturity of legal operations. Companies with more mature legal operations tend to utilize legal technology more extensively, resulting in greater success in achieving business goals. Utilizing technology can lead to the growth of legal operations departments and the establishment of more advanced goals and capabilities.
With business priorities for legal operations, there are four universal areas that are significant:
- Reducing external legal spend.
- Automating and streamlining manual processes.
- Improving legal work prioritization.
- Increasing the quality of legal advice.
Overarching these is the additional priority to evaluate and introduce legal technology. Although it may seem like a separate priority ranked alongside the others, it underpins all other legal operations priorities. As demonstrated by legal operations leaders using technology to enhance performance, the introduction of legal technology enables the achievement of other goals.
HOW LEGAL OPERATIONS LEADERS USE TECHNOLOGY TO ACHIEVE GOALS
Mature and advanced legal operations teams use technology. Smaller, less mature teams also need software tools to enhance their performance. Some of the benefits that technology delivers include:
- Legal e-Billing ensures law firms adhere to billing guidelines which save money.
- Workflows automate repetitive, manual processes, saving time and reducing manual errors, and freeing up lawyers to do more high-value work.
- Real-time dashboards on matter or contract statuses give visibility to stakeholders.
- Comparing law firm price and performance for more transparent and fair reviews and negotiations.
- Knowledge and document management tools make it easier to collaborate, search, and find information and documents.
- Consistent data creates reports and analytical capabilities to enable decision-making.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT LEGAL SOFTWARE FOR YOUR NEEDS
A common failing seen repeatedly is when legal operations teams get dazzled by features and buy technology they don’t need and won’t use. Not only is this a waste of investment, but it creates a skepticism that affects future projects. Some teams may need more than one highly customized solution with multiple integrations; others require a simple out-of-the-box tool to automate key processes.
Before you talk to any vendor, you need to know your challenges and goals and document your current process and workflows. Good vendors will not try to sell you all the bells and whistles that result in you buying an underused solution; we want your project to succeed just as much as you do.
Here are the recommended legal technology project steps:
- Identify your key challenges, needs, and requirements.
- Define the project team; include future users, stakeholders, and don’t forget members from other crucial teams.
- Document your current people, processes, and technology for your challenges. Look at how you might change this and your priorities; what is ideal and the acceptable and unacceptable outcomes.
- The vendor or consultant can help you refine this further down the line.
- Research the market, possible solutions, vendors, and consultants. Consider “build-or-buy” options.
- Only now should you approach vendors and consultants. If you do this any sooner, you will be overwhelmed with all the potential opportunities for improvement and lose focus on what is most important for your business right now.
- Calculate the business case, including any ROI. (Download our guide to building a business case for legal spend management).
- Consider and plan for the impact of change management, stakeholder management, and corporate culture.
- Choose the right solution for your team!
DATA-DRIVEN DECISION MAKING
The introduction of legal technology will achieve “quick wins” in the cost and efficiency goals mentioned above. Where mature legal operations departments excel is in the integration of multiple legal technology tools. This creates centralized, consistent data that, in turn, enables advanced data analytics across numerous legal practice areas and work types.
Due to their data analysis capabilities, mature legal operations functions can address more challenging legal department problems and make data-driven, strategic decisions around department staffing, matter resourcing, risk management, negotiations, panel reviews, and more. From your first legal technology project, you have started to create data that will take your cost and efficiency savings to the next level and position legal as a strategic value-generator for the business.
Request a demo of eBilling.Space today and see our RFP functionality for yourself.