Legal operations key for in-house success
Prioritising the delivery of legal services in an in-house context is critical to the ongoing success of businesses across the board, according to a legal operations software provider.
In a recently released white paper, Xakia Technologies outlined the importance of better collaboration with in-house lawyers by their companies to ensure future success and productivity.
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“Legal operations can help in-house counsel control cost, improve their performance and have a better quality of life,” the provider said.
“While every legal department is different – and some teams, budgets and regulatory pressures are bigger than others – every business can see real value from implementing legal operations initiatives.”
These benefits, Xakia wrote, included a better alignment between the legal department the company’s overall strategy, more cohesive teams, smarter staffing, greater control over costs, and a better deployment of law firms.
In addition, companies would have more access to practical ideas for innovation, a clearer framework for business experiments, faster and more meaningful reporting, more time, and the ability for lawyers to feel empowered, the provider submitted.
Garnering such benefits will, Xakia said, “make your boss happy”.
Research shows that chief executives and company boards want their in-house lawyers to advice company leaders, support business objectives and manage legal and other risks.
Moreover, those higher up think general counsel will add more value to the operations of boards should they be able to act as advisers and promote best governance practices.
But, worryingly, while these tasks are being done, the majority of in-house departments are failing to track and report them.
The provider noted that 44 per cent of global law departments say they don’t have a high profile within their companies, and 77 per cent of global companies said they don’t measure the value delivered to their businesses by the in-house legal team.
“More than three-quarters of law departments do not measure their value whatsoever – despite their strategic importance and despite the fact that performance bonuses can account for up to 67 per cent of in-house counsel compensation in the [United States],” Xakia explained.
This disconnect, the provider mused, may explain why 40 per cent of in-house counsel consider leaving their workplaces because of pay issues.
In response, Xakia argued, companies must prioritise legal operations across the board.
This requires, it said, better engagement about processes, more stringent collection of data, exploration into automation and analytics, and having powerful, data-driven discussions.
“It’s time to advocate for your department – to collect your evidence, to make your case, and then to make it easy for your time-crunched supervisors to understand,” the provider concluded.