“My contracts? They’re not electronic. They’re in a cupboard!” the GC admitted.
In our recent roundtables discussing self-service workflows with leaders from corporate legal functions, three main themes emerged. First, the perennial challenges of managing information remain, compounded somewhat by new channels of communication. Second, inertia still wields great power. Third, the collective wisdom in legal has evolved considerably in recent years, and early adopters have blazed many trails that others can now use.
Legal teams still face most of the same challenges that they have had for years with intake, triage, and allocation of legal work. These challenges range from educating the business to maintaining a line of sight on legal workloads to keeping information up to date. And with the advent of Teams, Slack, and so on, legal teams must manage even more channels of incoming requests. On top of that, there is growing pressure from the business to track and measure the value Legal provides.
Yet, inertia remains a powerful force, and legal has been slow to adopt technology and process improvement. In many departments, process automation remains at a very basic level. To be fair, it’s neither quick nor easy to define and refine processes, vet solutions, secure budget, implement new workflows, and manage change.
But it is actually much easier and less risky than it used to be. Early adopters of the technology have already done so much of the hardest work. They’ve established proof of concept, vetted, and tested many solutions, and quantified the return on investment. Most importantly, many leaders have learned a lot along the way, from successes and missteps alike, and are now sharing that knowledge with others. It’s time for individual teams to tap that wealth of knowledge and put it to even greater use.