Utilising technology to boost business efficiency in Legal Departments

The importance of digitally enabling legal departments to boost business efficiency and streamline operations. 

In recent years, digital transformation has accelerated, and businesses have had to keep pace with technological advances to remain relevant in a fiercely competitive landscape. While departments such asfinance, sales, and HR have embraced new technologies to improve efficiency and productivity, the legal department has often been left behind. Now, the legal industry is recognising the need for change, with 56% of legal professionals citing improved efficiency as their top priority for the coming year, pointing to the burnout many General Counsels (GCs) are experiencing due to manual and menial tasks.

Why now is the time for change

By investing in advancing technology and innovation specifically tailored to legal departments, businesses can increase efficiency, agility, and collaboration whilst reducing costs. Digitally enabled legal teams can even speed up negotiation cycles, resulting in more sales and increased profit without compromising legal risk.

With the right tools, legal professionals can focus more on strategic and high-value activities, such as developing and implementing compliance programmes, driving legal innovation, and supporting business development efforts rather than being bogged down by administrative or repetitive work. The legal department also deals with companies’ use of technology and data legal compliance, meaning being digitally enabled is a natural next step.

Spotlight on Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) systems

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) systems, which allow GCs to automate routine legal processes, such as document review and contract creation, are an example of new transformative technology in the legal sector.  Streamlining these processes significantly reduces the administrative burden and provides real-time insight into contract performance, enabling legal teams to make data-driven decisions to better anticipate and mitigate legal risk and provide more timely and accurate legal advice.

The adoption of CLM tools can greatly reduce friction and improve collaboration among legal teams and colleagues within organisations. Technology can save time and effort by allowing various departments within a business to self-serve and integrate with existing software, collecting necessary information before involving the legal team.

Adopting digital technology throughout the legal department can result in significant cost savings and subsequent value creation. A legal department that relies entirely on data and digital tools would be able to offer instant resource access, automated contract creation, and effortless integration with essential business platforms such as Microsoft Word, Teams, Slack and DocuSign. Receiving notifications for contract renewals would simplify maintaining complete oversight and authority over legal obligations.

In today’s fast-paced business world, agility is crucial for success, and implementing legal technologies can enable businesses to respond swiftly to macroeconomic changes, such as new regulations or legal challenges. Adapting quickly to changing circumstances and market trends can help businesses gain a competitive edge, drive success, and create value.

How can GCs stay ahead?

To stay ahead in the digital age, GC’s must take a more active role in the digital transformation of their organisations, making use of legal tech to automate manual processes, make better use of data, and improve communication and collaboration. Implementation of this technology can be seamless, and the benefits of the technology offer vast time and resource benefits. The winners within the legal market will be those who adapt, innovate, and disrupt.

About the Author

Tom Dunlop is co-founder and CEO of Summize. Summize is a digital contracting software business that exists to help everyone understand each other better.  Founded in 2018 by former General Counsel Tom Dunlop and Software Engineer David Smith, Summize addresses the pressing need to make contracts simpler and easier to understand with its innovative Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) technology.  Summize takes a deliberately different approach to contracts through its integrations with existing technology including Teams, Slack and Microsoft Word to enable greater user adoption, faster contract cycles, measurable time savings and mitigated risk.  It’s digital contacting, done differently.

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