The 2023 Enterprise Legal Reputation (ELR) Report uncovers opportunities for legal departments to maximize their material effect on the business through better collaboration, increased efficiency and smarter technology
HOUSTON, May 10, 2023 — Onit, a leading provider of legal workflow solutions including enterprise legal management and contract lifecycle management, today released the concluding chapters of its 2023 Enterprise Legal Reputation (ELR) Report. The ELR Report is 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 way legal professionals perceive their interactions with other departments, and the material impact Legal can have on its businesses — 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 explore ways to improve working relationships, accelerate legal workflows and transform the function’s material role in large enterprises.
While the first chapter of the ELR Report reveals the quality of interactions between Legal and its internal clients noticeably decreasing year over year across every enterprise function — particularly with public-facing, revenue-impacting departments like Sales and Marketing — the latest installment of the report finds that legal professionals are acutely aware that concerns around their responsiveness, communication and efficiency are impacting the quality of their working relationships.
As current macroeconomic distress exacerbates the pressure on all employees to show value by improving operational efficiency amid cost-cutting measures, the need for faster execution and better collaboration with Legal is evident — more than nine in 10 (91%) legal respondents acknowledge that other departments bypass their team because of slow processes or perceived non-responsiveness, even if it means circumventing company policy. This evasion has adverse repercussions. Legal’s enduring image is a trustworthy protector of the business, but ensuring compliance, managing risk, and avoiding liability issues is hampered when employees knowingly bypass legal policies.
The Cost of Modernization: Addressing Legal’s Barriers to Efficiency
More than half (61%) of legal respondents believe their internal clients see them as inefficient because of a lack of communication (51%), too many processes (46%) or poor collaboration (31%). Modernizing operations can combat the perception of inefficiency by enabling faster execution and better collaboration, undoubtedly increasing Legal’s opportunity to positively impact enterprise materiality.
Despite Legal’s desire to evolve into a faster, smarter and more modern partner, the study finds there are roadblocks preventing forward movement. Nearly four in 10 (37%) legal respondents believe a lack of budget for modern solutions is holding them back from providing positive experiences for internal clients, while a similar percentage (36%) cites a lack of technology solutions. Moreover, one in three (34%) believe leadership does not value efficient workflows.
However, when it comes to critical yet time-consuming processes like contract management — where only 22% of legal respondents say contracts are managed efficiently — modernizing workflows can directly address issues related to speed and collaboration. The report found that four in five (83%) companies handle up to 2,000 contracts annually and invest an average of 4.5 hours a day working on contracts, with one in five (21%) legal respondents admitting to spending six to eight hours on contract-related matters every day.
Time to Shine: Legal’s Positive Impact on Revenue Growth and Operational Efficiency
The ELR Report reveals Legal’s opportunity to directly contribute to business growth — six in 10 (60%) legal respondents believe they help Sales effectively negotiate deals and generate revenue. Yet, nearly half (49%) also believe lengthy contract cycles negatively impact deal closure and delay revenue generation (49%). Legal can improve efficiency and influence growth by embracing technology solutions for managing legal operations. Automating tedious parts of the contract negotiation process can expedite the time it takes to execute sales contracts — a welcome change given more than eight in 10 (84%) legal respondents say it takes over a month to execute sales contracts and one in four (26%) admit it can take upward of three months. Inefficiency within the contract management process may also have a negative impact on vendor procurement (43%) and M&A and partnerships (29%).
“The need for every legal department to execute faster and communicate better is clear,” said Stasha Jain, General Counsel of Onit. “The current challenging macroeconomic climate has caused each department to emphasize cost containment, but it’s up to us as legal practitioners to evolve beyond enterprise guardians. Triangulating people, process, and technologies — which includes testing new developments in AI — is fundamental to Legal’s transformation into a more collaborative partner and material business driver.”
Read the ELR Report to learn about the opportunities for Legal to evolve its image from a traditional transactional back-office function to a material driver that impacts business growth, faster revenue generation and operational efficiency.
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.