Understanding Legal Process Management

In large corporations, legal departments are largely back-office operations. They handle contact review, employee terminations, litigation, trademarks and patents, and a plethora of other functions. The legal process itself demands a lot of paper, and legal departments often get buried in just the documents required for a project. When you add in the emails, calls and other requests from the front end – the sales department, human resources or other business units – the legal department slows down, trying to sort through not only existing work but also making sure that new requests are routed through the system efficiently. That’s a tall order, given the average amount of work most legal departments have, using less staff than a few years ago.

Legal process management ties together the front and back ends of the business. Here’s an example of how smooth the process could be: using a portal, customized forms and a data entry wizard, the human resources department could request that the legal department review the involuntary termination of an employee. The process would be simple for both sides:

  1. The portal, which could be a part of the legal department’s home page, an intranet page or reside on the legal process management vendor’s server, would include a link to request legal services. The human resources representative would click on the appropriate link, i.e. “Review an involuntary termination.”
  2. The link would bring up an online form that could be customized for the company. The human resources representative would then fill out those fields and attach supporting documentation like performance reviews or inappropriate emails sent by the employee.
  3. Using the data entry wizard, the form could include a drop-down menu for the reason for termination, such as “inappropriate conduct.” Something like this could be flagged so that the termination would need to be reviewed by the general counsel. The request would then be routed to her by the legal process management system to be reviewed before giving approval to HR to terminate the employee.

By utilizing a legal process management system, the legal department gets everything it needs to begin working on an issue in a timely manner. Instead of back-and-forth emails that can easily get overlooked in overflowing inboxes or playing phone tag, the legal department is able to customize forms that ask the right questions from the inception. The department requesting the legal services is able to provide the right information and can track the progress of the legal department through the portal.

This efficient way of legal process management frees up time across the enterprise, allowing everyone to focus on their jobs. It simplifies the legal process, makes sure that the work gets done, and prevents costly, time-consuming lawsuits over missed deadlines. It saves time and money, both important resources in companies that are struggling to do more with less in a turbulent economy.

Watch this video to see how a simple tool like Onit Process can help a general counsel automate a contract review process with a sales manager. To see the tool, sign-up to view the Legal Process Management Onit Premium screencast.

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