The Lean, Transformative Legal Department: Tech is King

“I think one key part of doing more with less is to be more strategic, to realize what the objectives you’re truly trying to accomplish are and then to drive with greater focus towards those objectives.”
– Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Doing more with less money and resources is not something most people want to hear from their bosses at the staff meeting. But it’s becoming more and more prevalent in the workplace, and legal departments share in the angst. “Lean legal” has been raising its ugly head for some time now, but it doesn’t need to be “ugly” at all. We invite you to read on and you’ll see what we mean.

Cost control and cost management have, and continue to be, one of legal’s biggest challenges. How have legal departments been handling this? Increasing the workload of existing resources, bringing on more in-house lawyers, and implementing more technology. Increasing the workload? Something else employees don’t want to hear. Hiring more in-house lawyers? That’s not really making things “leaner,” is it? That leaves technology. Let’s investigate this one a little more.

According 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.”

Topping the list of most implemented technology are e-billing and matter management, with legal holds and contract management following closely on their heels. Interestingly, the top two areas where customers are moving out of their existing systems are e-billing and matter management. This points to even greater demand for cutting-edge companies who provide the crème de la crème of technology solutions.

So if technology is so good at helping these legal departments, 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. Stop dreading the words, “Do more with less.” We challenge you to thrive on it and explore the technology solutions out there that will help you do that.


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