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Technologies Shaping Legal Operations: Legal Ops Guide (2/2)

Published On : June 19, 2024
Technologies shaping legal ops

This is the second article in our two-part series on legal operations management. In the first guide, we covered the basics and evolution of legal operations. You can read the first article here. This article will focus on exploring technology’s role in transforming Legal Operations in corporate law departments.

Legal Ops professionals today play a leadership role in optimizing the efficiency and effectiveness of legal departments through strategic planning, process improvement, technology integration, and financial and vendor management.

Key focus areas for the Legal Ops discipline include:

Why Legal Teams Need Legal Ops Technology

Managing a legal matter today involves many moving parts — internal clients, inside counsel, outside counsel, mergers and acquisitions teams, compliance teams, case facts, relevant laws and regulations, and spend management. Collaborating and communicating can pose a significant challenge without implementing technology into the workflow.

Then there’s the data. On average, legal teams review thousands of documents related to legal matters. Today, legal teams need an easier way to organize, access, protect, and share information.

Legal Ops professionals, General Counsels, and their legal teams need an efficient way to find and analyze data for decision-making and measure and improve overall legal department performance.

AI-powered Legal Ops Technology

Today, artificial intelligence and other technologies can significantly streamline legal operations management. These solutions can be classified into two categories: process management and information management.

Technology Solutions for Legal Ops

Process Management

First, we’ll look at technology to help you make your workflows and processes more efficient.

Matter Management
With this integrated solution, you can track budgets and matter status, assign team members, generate spend reports, and verify invoices for compliance with engagement terms. Automate team and client communications to optimize collaboration.

Conflict Checks
Conflict check management solutions can automate the conflict check process and allow you to confirm new clients quickly. You can also evaluate potential clients’ subsidiaries and affiliates that may or may not conflict with you.

Legal Hold Management
Replace manual spreadsheet tracking and individual emails with a comprehensive legal hold management solution. It automates hold notices to custodians, tracks reply and sends reminders.

Due Diligence
Mergers and acquisitions are always time-sensitive. Speed up your diligence with AI-powered Virtual Data Room. Its built-in Q&A feature sets up secure communication between stakeholders. You can search and analyze target contracts and documents.

Vendor Management
Support corporate goals on vendor cost reduction by easily tracking and managing costs for related services that keep the law department humming. Identify outlier costs to target for savings.

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM)
Modernize your contract management with CLM. These holistic systems track negotiations, contract approvals, pricing, and deliverables. You will also get alerts on renewal or termination dates so you can modify terms or end a contract before it auto-renews.

eDiscovery Project Management
eDiscovery is a complex process with many moving parts. Ensure each project stays within scope, has the right resources, stays on budget, and meets deadlines with eDiscovery project management technology.

Approval Workflow
Contracts, regulatory submissions, and other legal demands require approvals from senior managers. Email chains have proven challenging for obtaining, recording, and sharing approvals. Technology-enabled workflows automate the approval process to improve efficiency and transparency so the entire team knows when key approvals are needed.

eSignature
Ink signatures on contracts, filings, and submissions have become a relic. Digital signatures have been widely adopted and are here to stay. Automate the signature process for your important documents with the eSignature solution.

eBilling/Spend Management
With the heavy corporate focus on reducing legal spend, you’ll want a technology solution that eliminates paper invoices and manual tracking of spend. Require your law firms and all suppliers to submit invoices using your eBilling system and reduce time spent reviewing bills for accuracy and compliance.

Task Routing
Automate and enhance how email is used to manage requests from internal clients. Employ request management or ticketing solution to receive, track, prioritize, and adjust resources to meet demands. The system also promotes collaboration and keeps your colleagues and clients updated on the status of legal projects.

Claims Management
Establish a single source of truth for claims correspondence and claims documents to streamline processes. You can initiate claim settlements, escalate claims issues to senior team members, track claims progress, and close settlements using one platform.

Legal Document Demands (DSAR, FOIA, 3rd Party Subpoena)
Growing global and domestic privacy laws require businesses to respond to consumers’ requests concerning the personal data that a company has stored. An AI-powered DSAR technology can rapidly search your IT systems to locate a subject’s personal information so you can appropriately respond to such requests and stay compliant. It also redacts third-party’s PII from the data set to be produced.

Information Management

Now, we’ll explore information management solutions to help you manage risks, compliance, costs, and productivity.

Legal Documents Management System (LDMS)
The efficiency of a law department and the protection of sensitive, confidential documents can be greatly improved with an LDM system. These systems store legal documents in a unified, secure repository. Legal teams can quickly find what they need in one place with secure access controls that restrict user access for improved security.

Information Governance (IG) & Records Management
GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) solution helps law departments support corporate-wide IG and records management objectives. Information Governance (IG), coupled with artificial intelligence technology, can scour IT systems to map where sensitive data — personally identifiable information (PII), medical records, legal documents, patents, financials, etc. — resides. One can then further restrict access and availability of the data for greater protection from a cyberattack.

Records management systems ensure your organization adheres to document retention and disposition policies — lowering IT storage costs.

End-to-end eDiscovery
As mentioned above, eDiscovery is one of the most complex and time-consuming legal operations. Rather than purchasing a host of disjointed platforms for processing, analyzing, reviewing, and producing data during discovery, you can improve efficiency and reduce costs with a single end-to-end eDiscovery platform. Unify all eDiscovery tasks, workflows, and data in a single, connected, secure platform to make it easy to find relevant documents for responsive and privileged review and production with audit trails.

Knowledge Management (KM)
Knowledge Management systems empower law departments to increase their proficiency. Legal teams that deploy KM models can store and reuse learnings from similar matters to get a head start on a new matter with more intuitive templates and workflow designs.

Data Preservation
Technology helps law departments comply with legal requirements where potentially relevant data is preserved if litigation is anticipated or underway. An enterprise GRC platform can preserve custodians’ data to ensure that relevant data is not deleted automatically or otherwise.

Information Rights Management (IRM)
A secure content collaboration platform offers encryption and permissions management to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive documents. Leverage IRM (Information Rights Management) capability to prevent unauthorized people from viewing, editing, printing, copying, forwarding, or deleting files. IRM policies can also be applied at the file level and remain intact when files are shared with outside parties.

Data Productions & Exports
Efficiently produce data to the other side in load files in various media, reviewable in common platforms, and produce images for use in court. Easily generate privilege logs and reports.

Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS)
Embrace an EFSS solution to sync documents (stored in local devices of your remote working team) with a central repository with your latest, updated documents for sharing across dispersed teams. Permission-controlled access and extensive security measures protect sensitive data.

Actionable Insights from Legal Ops Technology

These technologies not only improve processes and help you manage information — they also generate actionable insights. You can become a data-driven law department to drive efficiency into your processes and analyze your performance with data analytics.

You’ll easily analyze your legal spending and budget adherence. The tech also helps you analyze data and report on efficiency gains. Take action to improve company-wide contracts with analytics showing noncompliance with standard terms and outlier terms in contracts.

In other words, data analytics capabilities embedded in modern legal ops software solutions can fuel up your process and information management.

Multidimensional data analytics, including email thread, PII, image, content, and keyword analytics, will improve your process efficiency and lower costs. You’ll also find powerful AI tools that categorize PII and PHI scattered in documents across the enterprise to help you identify and address compliance failures or misconduct.

With all the layers of privacy regulations, you’ll want to use technologies to locate private citizens’ data to manage privacy risks.

An Integrated Ecosystem of Legal Ops Technology

Legal Ops professionals will quickly see that with all these technologies, buying individual point tools is not the best route. Instead, look for Legal Ops technology that connects the team with all the data, information, and analytics the modern law department requires.

Table stakes for your solution should include:

  • Customizable, adaptable, friendly solutions
  • Interoperability with other tools
  • Third-party integration
  • Robust audit logs feature for traceability
  • Full enterprise IT visibility into data
  • Adaptable to existing workflows and processes to optimize implementation and minimal change management
  • Security features include encryption, 2FA, geolocation restrictions, IP restrictions, and granular permission control mechanisms.
  • User-friendliness and easy onboarding
  • Cost-effectiveness, predictable pricing, flexible deployment (on-premise, cloud, hybrid cloud)

To discuss the scope of legal ops transformation in your department, we are just a click away from you. Contact our team today for a tech-driven tomorrow.

 

Author

Aubrey Owens, Jr.
Aubrey Owens, Jr., a renowned Legal Technology visionary and Executive Leader, is a leading authority delivering best-in-class AI-powered legal operations solutions handling Information Governance & Privacy, end-to-end eDiscovery & Hosted Document Review, Enterprise Data Management and other technology offerings for Corporate Legal Departments and Law Firms worldwide.