Image Credit: REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk
Dynamic in-house legal teams face escalating and evolving workloads and business demands and are increasingly turning to technology. Legal technology helps address the challenge of doing more with less and improves your department’s operational function. According to the 2021 State of the Corporate Law Department report by Thomson Reuters, an increasing number of legal departments are investing in technology to simplify workflow and optimise their processes. In that survey, respondents noted that technology ensures that they are better equipped to handle the challenges that come with uncertainty and change.
A recent report from Thompson Reuters sets out how using a Legal Technology Roadmap can help you better understand how technology, when aligned with a broader legal and business strategy, can improve your department’s efficiency and effectiveness.
Adopting a roadmap enables your legal department to understand your team’s key strategic priorities, what you need to address them, and how to get there. Here, we will look at the key benefits of having a legal technology roadmap and some of the primary considerations around choosing the right technology solutions for your legal department.
Benefits of a legal technology roadmap
Strategic alignment means leadership buy-in
Stakeholders within legal and the wider organisation can resist transformation projects if they don’t see the bigger picture. Having a roadmap that aligns initiatives and solutions to strategic needs gives you that bigger picture. Communicating that and getting approval from stakeholders will simplify your transformation journey.
Securing budget approval
Once you have identified the right legal solution for your department, you need budget approval. A roadmap helps communicate your strategic needs and build better internal relationships with IT/Finance/Procurement, who can quickly identify the legal department’s needs and how your chosen solution meets them. Ultimately a clear legal roadmap means a faster purchase.
Right technology at the right time
Building an excellent legal roadmap involves identifying existing process and determining ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness. As you map these processes, it should become clear where the gaps are and which ones you need to plug first; for example, you may not want to deploy a contract review AI tool before you have contracts in a central repository.
Understanding what your existing technology solutions can do is an essential part of building your legal technology roadmap. It becomes critical when you identify the solutions you need and begin to think about how and whether your existing tech stack can integrate with new technology. Your legal roadmap will help guide the way when it comes to having interconnected and simplified solutions.
Delivering more with less while maintaining quality service is the norm for many corporate legal teams. Building your legal roadmap enables your department to meet this challenge now and in the future. This process will give you a clear understanding of your department’s needs and where it’s going, ultimately making you more likely to control cost, drive efficiency, and improve effectiveness and mitigate risk.
What’s the right technology for your department?
Identifying the right technologies begins with identifying your priorities, which is what a legal technology roadmap is designed to help with. It can help to compare technology solutions and rank the features that are most important to your team. You may choose to consider the following:
Relevant and easy to use
Your chosen technology needs to be easy to use to ensure you get users on board. Software works well when it’s focused on the user’s priorities, goals and challenges. When a product has been rigorously developed with the end-user in mind and road-tested with clients, it’s more likely to be a usable and useful tool.
Security and integrity of data are fundamental for all legal departments. Information and data within your organisation are valuable business assets. Because data breaches could have significant business and reputational costs, the legal department’s role in protecting sensitive information is vital.
Quick to deploy and scalable
Once you have gathered insight on challenges and priorities from stakeholders in your department, you want to ensure that the solution you choose to meet those challenges can be deployed sooner rather than later. Further, if you can integrate your chosen solution with other parts of the business across multiple sites, it will enable deeper collaboration and deliver even more value to your organisation.
Ultimately your legal technology roadmap, and any resulting solutions identified, are aimed at creating cost savings and making sure that your department is more efficient and effective. Many technology solutions provide cost and time savings, which both contribute to demonstrating ROI. If your solution assists with workflow management, your lawyers save time and focus more on value-add tasks. Similarly, a solution may help you streamline your outside counsel costs, providing a boost to your bottom line.
This is not an exhaustive list, and there are many other considerations to take into account. For example, you may want to think about whether you’ll want to integrate your chosen solution with other technologies, whether it’s cloud-based and what the implications of that might be, or you may want to consider whether data visualisation and reporting is essential to your team. Compare and contrast these considerations by adopting a simple scoring system.
Improving legal operations, efficiency and effectiveness, and adopting the right solutions is a journey. Building your legal technology roadmap helps you get there with clarity and strategic vision.
Download your copy of ‘How to develop a legal technology roadmap’.