The Lean, Mean Legal Department Part II: Technology to the Rescue

Cost control and cost management have, and continue to be, among the biggest challenges of legal departments around the globe. How have legal departments been handling this? By increasing the workload of existing resources, bringing on more in-house lawyers, and implementing more technology. Increasing the workload? Something employees definitely don’t want to hear. Hiring more in-house lawyers? That’s not really making things “leaner,” is it? That leaves us with technology. Let’s investigate this option a little more by first referring to HBR Consulting’s 2018 Law Department Survey:

“Law departments also continue in their efforts to streamline operations, not only to control costs but also continue to increase efficiency. Legal technology continues to be a focus of many departments and plan implementation of next generation technologies to increase productivity. Law departments continue to be interested in data-related technologies, with 28 percent indicating they plan to implement artificial intelligence technology in the next one to two years, and 26 percent planning to implement legal spend analytics. These were topped, however, by contract management solutions, which 29 percent plan to implement in the next one to two years. These new legal technologies help automate manual workflows and create visibility into workload and spending, allowing organizations to improve operating efficiency and facilitate decision making.”

E-billing, matter management, legal holds and contract management top the list of most implemented legal technology, but there are many others. Interestingly, the top two areas where customers are moving out of their existing deficient systems are e-billing and matter management. This points to an even greater demand for those cutting-edge companies who provide the crème de la crème of legal technology solutions.

Why has it taken so long for some legal departments to see the light and get on board with technology? Understandably, a lean budget is often cited as one of the major reasons for not implementing legal technology. Resistance to change is another common reason. But one of the other major reasons is a reluctance to integrate new technology with existing systems. Here’s a little secret: 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 are much more seamless than in the past. Gaining the support of leadership is a big step toward solving the resistance to change. Stop dreading the phrase, “do more with less.” Instead, we challenge you to thrive on it and explore the technology solutions out there that will truly help you do more with less.

Read our white paper, “Doing More with Less: How Technology is Optimizing Legal.”

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