Think bigger with integrated workflows
The tasks and activities performed by legal teams can span across multiple functions, stakeholders and jurisdictions. Whilst there is no shortage of technology solutions that help with individual parts of a process, there are very few which help organizations with every step of the process. Some specialize while others aim to give teams a central place to collaborate. It has, therefore, become increasingly important for solutions to be integrated and connected, to allow inhouse legal teams to realize the opportunities and efficiencies that legal technology promises to provide.
Most of us have used systems that push or pull data between one another, removing the need for the manual exchange of information while making the business processes more accurate and efficient. For example, in-house legal teams may use systems to interact with business stakeholders, vendors or outside counsel and to manage tasks such as capturing new instructions, document drafting and negotiation, each of which involve the exchange (and update) of information.
In isolation each of these can take significant time and effort, however, a systematized and connected approach can streamline and deliver efficiency throughout the process.
To start simply, let’s consider a connection between a legal intake portal and a document automation tool. Much of the information needed to produce a draft document is collected on the instruction form and can be automatically relayed to document automation software which then returns the first version to the assigned lawyer in seconds. If we extend this to thinking about how remote working has driven up the acceptance of digital signatures one might then look to push a copy of the final draft automatically into a platform like DocuSign. Performing these tasks manually would require the instructions to be captured, copied into a template document, reviewed and then sent to the requestor for signature.
Similarly, when a lawyer needs to instruct external counsel there’s a common set of tasks they’ll need to complete which may include providing the relevant case information (via email or a portal) and manually updating an internal tracker or report. Individually these steps can take time but they don’t need to. With the right groundwork in place an email could go to outside counsel and access be granted to the digital file, whilst the start date and reason for assignment are captured for reporting.
As a final example, imagine an event on a matter that triggered a reporting obligation to your insurer. Instead of gathering information from internal systems to email, the legal case management system would automatically push relevant data to the claims reporting system and set off the appropriate chain of events, presenting the initial incident information for assessment and assigning a task to follow up.
- Consider your interaction with key stakeholders.
- Map your current processes, taking into account the systems in place and the data that you exchange.
- Prioritize areas that have the highest levels of interaction but are performed manually or in isolation.
- Work with your internal teams or with external service providers to determine the best combination of people, process, systems, and opportunities for better connection and integration.
By creating the right connections and integrations between legal technologies, wider business functions and potentially third parties, legal teams can save time, focus on strategic areas of work and continue to provide a streamlined efficient high-quality service.