Many folks in legal departments feel, and rightfully so, that the new paradigm is to do more with less money and fewer resources – otherwise known as lean legal. In the overall scheme of legal operations in achieving its objectives with “less,” technology has increasingly played a prominent role. Driving efficiencies and controlling costs in the legal department are being borne, to a significant degree, by well-chosen technology solutions, and legal operations managers who understand this and are taking action. The major school of thought currently is to run legal operations like a business – and to achieve that goal technology has been playing a key role.
Technology is optimizing legal operations in several key areas. Workflow and automation of processes deserve a spot at the top of the list. Automating routine tasks can shave hours off any busy schedule. Collaboration in 2019 via technology gives a whole new meaning to “work together,” and is forging the future of legal operations in ways we could never have imagined. Data analytics is increasingly important, as analytics can demonstrate the value of technology in the department. Looking at the CLOC Legal Operation’s 12 Core Competencies, the Mature Level is what legal departments should be striving for. Whether legal operations staff are familiar with the competencies or not, technology has been there (for those using it), quietly helping them to reach that magic level.
So if technology is so good at helping us in legal operations, what were the barriers to using it in the first place? A lean budget is often cited as one of the major reasons. Resistance to change also places on the list. But one of the other major reasons is integrating new technology with existing systems. Nowadays, resistance to change is really the only thing that should be holding up progress – the other issues of budget and integration have changed considerably in favor of organizations seeking new technology. There are technology solutions out there for practically every budget and integrations have never been easier. And for the “hard of hearing,” there is no longer a good reason not to be taking advantage of cutting-edge technology. Above all, doing more with less in the lean legal department has never been easier and affordable.