Onit’s 2023 Enterprise Legal Reputation (ELR) Report reveals Legal’s direct impact on business — from sales and innovation to brand and corporate culture — hinges on ability to evolve relationships with internal clients demanding better communication and efficiency
HOUSTON, March 15, 2023 — Onit, the leading provider of legal workflow solutions including enterprise legal management and contract lifecycle management, today released the 2023 Enterprise Legal Reputation (ELR) Report, an annual multinational study spotlighting year-over-year changes in the brand image of corporate legal departments through the eyes of their internal clients. The study reveals the linkage between Legal’s relationship with the business and material impact — from revenue generation and operational efficiency to innovation and corporate culture.
In November 2022, Onit commissioned Provoke Insights, a New York City-based market research firm, to conduct a study of 4,000 non-legal enterprise employees and 500 corporate legal professionals in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany. The study helps corporate legal teams and executive teams understand areas to improve working relationships, accelerate legal workflows and transform the function’s strategic role in large enterprises.
The 2023 ELR Report reaffirms one of the most prominent findings from its inaugural edition in 2022 — Legal’s enduring image as a trustworthy protector of the business. About four in five (78%) non-legal enterprise employees view the legal department in this light. However, the 2023 report reveals a changing dynamic between Legal and its internal clients. In one year, the quality of interactions noticeably decreases across every function. The decline is most evident between Legal and public-facing, revenue-impacting departments. A year-over-year comparison reveals a 30% and 27% drop in quality among Legal’s interactions with Sales and Marketing, respectively.
Employees Continue to Bypass Legal and Its Policies
According to the 2023 ELR Report, employees are concerned about Legal’s responsiveness, communication and efficiency — or perceived lack thereof. These concerns are further exacerbated by macroeconomic distress and the subsequent pressure on employees to show value by improving operational efficiency amid cost-cutting measures and demands to execute faster. The need for speed and collaboration exposes that legal departments are viewed as slow or non-responsive. Seven in 10 (71%) non-legal enterprise respondents say it often takes days or weeks to receive a response from Legal. For the second year in a row, just two in five (41%) view Legal as efficient. As a result, only one in four (27%) consider Legal a good business partner.
Apparently, enterprise employees are not waiting around. Two in three (67%) admit they bypass Legal and its policies — up from 65% in 2022 — because Legal is overly bureaucratic (31%), slows employee productivity (30%) and does not understand their business needs (23%).
These findings put Legal in a unique position. How the profession chooses to adapt will dictate Legal’s relevance and impact during an uncertain time when businesses are searching for cost efficiency and growth from every corner of their enterprise.
Legal’s Golden Opportunity to Impact Sales, Revenue Generation, and More
Despite nagging concerns affecting Legal’s brand within its businesses, the 2023 ELR Report shines a spotlight on the function’s opportunity to foster better relationships with internal clients. According to the report, greater support through communication and collaboration will not only improve Legal’s image as a good business partner but also contribute to directly influencing enterprise growth and efficiency, particularly amid economic uncertainty.
The study reveals an overwhelming belief that Legal positively impacts multiple revenue-impacting functions around the enterprise, including contract renewals (64%), sales and revenue operations (56%) and deal cycles (51%). This is where Legal’s stellar negotiation skills provide major material impact — three in four (76%) employees acknowledge impressive negotiation skills.
“Legal is at a crossroads — a difficult macroeconomic climate has presented the department with an opportunity to evolve into a better partner and material business driver,” Onit CEO and co-founder Eric Elfman said. “As CEOs and executive teams search for new strategies to achieve greater growth and EBITDA, the 2023 ELR Report spotlights Legal as a relatively untapped resource within enterprise organizations that can add a meaningful and material impact.”
The ELR Report concludes that increasing communication and deepening collaboration will enable Legal to improve its interactions with the business, decrease the frequency in which employees bypass its policies and directly influence materiality, growth and efficiency.
Other key findings that further magnify Legal’s material impact across the enterprise include:
- Enterprise employees believe Legal has a positive effect on corporate brand (61%), procurement (54%) and innovation (48%).
- Six in 10 (60%) acknowledge Legal’s positive impact on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); 57% say the same regarding corporate culture.
- The most frequent types of interactions with Legal involve contract review and signing (46%), compliance (46%), HR matters (37%) and patents, trademarks, copyright and intellectual property (IP) matters (25%) – fundamental activities that protect and enable its businesses.
To learn more about Legal’s brand image in the eyes of its internal clients, download Chapter 1 of the 2023 ELR Report, register for the ELR webinar, visit Onit at Legalweek New York 2023 or read the 2022 ELR Report.
Onit is the leading provider of legal workflow solutions for enterprise legal management (ELM) and contract lifecycle management (CLM). Onit’s comprehensive product portfolio customizes AI-driven workflows for managing matters, spend, vendors and contracts. With Onit, companies can evolve the legal department’s role as a business protector and transform it into a business driver that materially influences the enterprise by improving operational and cost efficiency while simultaneously contributing to faster revenue generation and business growth.
The Onit portfolio of products includes SimpleLegal, AXDRAFT, Bodhala, BusyLamp and SecureDocs. Learn more at www.onit.com.
Mike Nadeau, [email protected]