When considering a legal process management software package, a lot of companies get overwhelmed by the features available. On one hand, it is very important the software is robust enough to truly automate processes that previously were done manually. On the other hand, there are key features that every organization needs the software to have in order for the legal department to function at its highest productivity level. Here are five must-have features:
- Process Automation. Legal process management software needs to be able to automate different processes. Manual process management wastes time that can be spent on legal work, but by automatically routing tasks to the correct person in the legal department and creating an easy-to-follow to do list, the right software will reduce the chance that something will get lost in an email inbox.
- Customization. Every company or organization’s legal department is different and handles different types of matters/projects. One size fits all solutions do not take that into account, and they force the legal department to rethink their processes – something that will slow down the legal department and be met with resistance. By choosing software that can create custom legal forms, the legal department has control over the software, not the other way around.
- Legal Front Office Features. In an organization, the legal department is part of the back office. It does not have a receptionist to route calls or deliver documents dropped off at the front desk. A legal process management software package should have a front office interface that other departments within the organization can call, perhaps on the company intranet, to request legal work, such as contract review or drafting.
- Collaboration. The legal process itself is full of collaboration, and the legal process management software should be no different. The package needs to allow the department requesting the legal services to see where the legal team is on the project, as well as allow the legal team to update the requestor.
- Resource Management. Some tasks can be delegated, and some should go directly to more senior members of the legal department. The software should be able to simplify how the legal work is initiated within the department by routing the tasks appropriately. For example, a variable specified in the software could route contract requests over $1 million directly to a general counsel, while a simpler contract review could be automatically sent to a more junior member of the team.
In the end, the software package chosen should allow the legal department to interact seamlessly with the rest of the organization so that the sales force does not worry about contracts not being prepared and the legal department does not have to search for work or re-route tasks within the department. These five features ensure that the right processes are automated and that the entire organization, not just the legal department, can work collaboratively and increase productivity.