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Top tips and opportunities to improve legal department operations

Inside iManage

The responses are in, and it’s time to consider what the 2018 Law Department Operations (LDO) survey findings mean for your legal department.

The Blickstein Group’s 11th annual LDO Survey, “The End of the Duopoly,” points to a number of emerging technology opportunities for legal department operations. Here are a select few of the most interesting findings:

1. It’s time to embrace — or improve — your operations technology.

It’s clear that legal departments are still eager for technology improvements. Fewer than 7 in 10 (69%) legal department professionals say they have the right technology they need on their jobs. This leaves more than 30% of professionals who are unhappy with their current technologies. That’s ample opportunity for legal departments to embrace some new technologies, or improve on existing ones.

2. Improve your document management technology (which was ranked nearly last in efficiency by respondents).

The LDO survey demonstrates that today document management is among the least effective of 12 technologies surveyed, and among the most likely technology that legal departments plan to update, evaluate or implement in the next year.

How to improve?
Read “Four tenets of modern document management”
by Dan Carmel, iManage CMO

Why this matters: Organizations with effective legal document management — from documents, emails to contracts and institutional knowledge — are more agile, make better decisions, adapt to changing business needs, seize opportunities, and deliver better client work. Moreover, document management acts as a single source of truth, helping to avoid confusion and costly mistakes. In addition, since all information is available in an easily searchable format, having an effective document management system also mitigates the risk that, when key employees leave, important information becomes inaccessible.

Keep in mind: Even with a document management system in place, it is extremely important to maintain strong security measures for this information.

3. Improve your contract management with artificial intelligence.

Survey respondents expressed high levels of dissatisfaction with contract management. To improve contract management, it might be time to examine the available artificial intelligence (AI) tools in your marketplace. AI that is embedded into contract management enables companies to review contracts more rapidly, clarify the contents and terms of those contracts, organize and locate large amounts of contract data, and minimize contract risks.

Why this matters: AI allows you to manage your contracts more effectively because it enables you to understand what is in each contract quickly, as well as search contracts for clauses/terms that are similar.

The significant benefits expected from AI in legal departments range from reduced costs for cognitive task automation to enhanced attorney productivity, better contract management and more effective sharing of expertise and knowledge. AI also enables better classification, search and re-use of content.

Keep in mind: Machine learning-based, AI software trains its algorithms on a set of contract data to recognize patterns and extract data, such as clauses, dates, or parties. This means it is best used to automate very specific, repeatable tasks, such as extracting data from a specific kind of document.

4. Consider whether you are optimizing your use of alternative service providers.

Nearly 8 in 10 survey respondents (77%) are using alternative service providers (ALSPs), with 71% of respondents spending up to 20% of their legal spend on ALSPs. This covers services such as document review (32%), the most common ALSP, and contract review (14%), followed by due diligence (13%). Other services include contract drafting (11%) and compliance (11%) and internal investigations (9%).

Why this matters: As your spend on ALSP increases, it’s important to consider whether your vendors are providing valuable process improvements in the key areas you need it most, such as document review, contract management, subpoena processing and basic claims.

Keep in mind: At least as important as the value your vendors deliver is the quality, security and professionalism with which they approach your data and privacy.

This blog post was based on the 11th annual Law Department Operations survey, “The End of Duopoly” by the Blickstein Group.

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Inside iManage

Inside iManage blogs are reflective of a combination of authors among our various teams.