Most legal teams rely heavily on documents and communication for their work, and managing all related operations may not be as simple as you would like. Unless you change your approach to document management and start exploring technology solutions that improve team efficiency.
Automation software has helped many businesses and departments streamline all or most of their operations and improve efficiency. The same can be done for a legal team.
In this article, let’s focus on the types of automation software for business boards along with some of the best examples.
1. Business management
All legal matters require extensive paperwork, such as budgets, forms, reports, and invoices. And in disputes that drag on for years, paperwork can fill records to bursting point.
But weight isn’t the only issue here. How do you know if you are still on track with the budget, for example, or what is the status of a certain file? Without a dedicated tool, you will waste a lot of time trying to extract certain information.
In-house legal case management software, on the other hand, can streamline legal operations because it facilitates the following:
• have a single location for creating, storing and sharing case files that ensures easy collaboration;
• organization of the details of the material specific to the different clients or projects;
• personalized reminders to track deadlines; and
• monitoring the progress of specific tasks related to the case.
A good example is BusyLamp’s Matter.Space, as it acts as a single source of truth for case-related data, such as emails, documents, deadlines, and outside advisors. This helps create an in-depth architectural view of your legal activities.
2. Contract Lifecycle Management
Contracts have a life cycle consisting of several stages, including contract creation, collaboration, review, approval, signing, storage and analysis, and obligation tracking.
Without any form of visualization, it’s just a lot of paper and verbal agreements. You won’t be able to follow the process through every stage of the lifecycle and do it efficiently. This leads to human error, as well as wasted time and higher costs.
Business consulting software, on the other hand, facilitates the following processes:
• Creation of workflows for purchases, sales, general commercial contracts and internal agreements, to name a few;
• save time when creating contracts with pre-approved basic contract templates;
• real-time collaboration on contracts between team members and with other involved parties, such as making comments and suggestions;
• provide electronic signatures to finalize contracts with remote partners;
• contract history so that different versions of a document can be compared and used in negotiation;
• store all contracts in a cloud so that they can be retrieved at any time, at any stage of the contract lifecycle; and
• evaluate the performance of the contract according to its geography, its client, etc.;
One such document automation tool is AXDRAFT. It automates the management of online contracts, from drafting to storage, renewal and analysis. This way, you can save up to 40% of your time spent on contract processing. It is also perfect for team collaboration and with other stakeholders as the tool is web-based.
3. Management of external counsel
Outside counsel means outsourcing legal tasks. This can improve time and profitability as long as your partner company knows the type of work you are trying to outsource and you can track progress and hours spent.
How do you know where the work is at without a collaboration space? Sure, you can communicate via email, but it’s not the best task manager.
External lawyer management software facilitates:
• Real-time collaboration between internal legal teams and external vendors;
• streamline administrative processes to improve return on investment;
• guarantee the liability of the seller; and
• monitor the progress of tasks and deadlines.
A good example is Dazychain as it can help you find and communicate with outsourcing partners and bill them.
4. Knowledge and document management
An internal legal document management system allows you to digitize and store any legal document produced by your company. These tools allow you to:
• tag and index information for future retrieval;
• save the modification history; and
• Create legal leads and document who accessed the data.
You can go beyond that and focus on retaining legal knowledge, rather than just documents. Basically, it becomes a company’s legal library in the form of a wiki or database and supports legal taxonomies. Such tools facilitate:
• information searches for the search for legal information;
• collection of data from internal and external sources; and
• Finding evidence in tools that use AI.
Either type of software is much better than just scanning and storing in a computer folder. This option is time-consuming, inefficient, and does not provide adequate security.
An example of a document management tool is eFileCabinet where you can store and share files, like invoices, testimonials, etc. This is a good option if you need a filing system similar to Google or OneDrive but suitable for organizing documents.
5. Task Management
Task management is the process of planning, tracking, performing, and reporting on a job. The software takes on the role of tracking progress, deadlines, assignees, and subtasks.
Without task management software, the monitoring part is difficult. Who is responsible ? When is the task due? Where can I find related documents?
The tools help answer these questions by facilitating the following:
• collaboration within the team and with other departments;
• follow-up of the progress and deadlines of a task;
• follow the progress of a project via chronology and/or calendar functions; and
• Notifying collaborators when a task changes, such as comments or when the status or deadline changes.
There are two great examples – Trello and Asana. Both have free versions and premium subscriptions with timeline view and report options.
6. Reports and analysis
Any legal document produces data that can be visually extrapolated into tables and graphs. That’s what reporting and analysis tools are for: creating visual representations that can help you analyze the work of your legal team and make other decisions.
Without reporting and data analysis, it is difficult to effectively plan, forecast and budget the work of your legal team.
The tools facilitate:
• collection of data on all contracts;
• organization of data in an understandable way; and
• Create granular segmented reports for performance tracking.
What is an in-house legal team?
An in-house legal team is a group of specialists who know the law and your business intimately. Such a team supports a company’s business strategy with advice on ethical standards and legal risks. In some cases, the team may also look for ways to reduce delays within the legal limits of the state or country where you operate.
What does an in-house legal team do?
An in-house legal team helps resolve business issues, close deals and deal with other issues such as tax or employment issues.
How to manage a legal department?
Managing a legal department is not much different from managing any other team: you structure the workload, build trust, cultivate talent, find ways to improve efficiency, and monitor performances. There are a few distinctions, however, and the following KPIs can help:
• what economic value does your legal department generate;
• your current expenses;
• the amount of high and low value work performed by your legal team; and
• Workload from other departments.
And here are some additional tips for managing a productive team:
1. Use task management software to manage department workload.
2. Plan, budget and track success using reporting tools.
3. Collaborate with other parties through CLM software.
Why do businesses need a legal department?
Your business needs a legal department to ensure your actions comply with local and state laws, as well as to protect your business and its partnerships from a legal perspective. This is vital for accessing legal risks and for complying with ethics and regulations, but it also helps your business when it faces issues within the confines of the law.
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