In the face of demands for greater productivity and new regulatory hurdles to navigate, corporate counsel must be on top of their technological processes and goals, according to a legal operations software provider.
In a new whitepaper, Xakia Technologies advocated for the undertaking of legal technology roadmaps for in-house lawyers, arguing that awareness of what clients want and need, together with cognizance of compliance obligations, is necessary.
The demand for “faster lawyers is obvious”, the provider wrote, with 49 per cent of in-house counsel reporting an increased workload over the past year, and 42 per cent saying their demand has remained constant, as per findings from the Association of Corporate Counsel.
Compounding the pressure for those in-house is the “ever-evolving regulatory landscape”, Xakia continued, with 70 per cent of counsel ranking it as a major stressor and 31 per cent reporting having been targeted by a regulator for alleged violations in the past two years.
The adoption of the new General Data Protection Regulations alone had 47 per cent of in-house counsel “scurrying to change their company’s data security standards”, it noted.
“Today’s legal departments face a messy and mutating maze of regulations, unrelenting regulators and a bigger workload,” the provider wrote.
“As the work expands, three options emerge: hire more lawyers, spend more on outside lawyers, or find new ways of doing things.”
As a result, new solutions are required, in form of building a legal technology roadmap for your in-house department.
“This means not exploring technology for technology’s sake, but knowing what you need (and what you don’t),” Xakia argued.
“It means performing an honest assessment of your department’s workload and capabilities, and ensuring you deliver on your organisation’s strategy and thinking in the long-term, so your tech works together and grows with you.”
The provider outlined a three-step process, starting with the need to gather intelligence on the current state of the business’ technology, the desired metrics to be tracked, opportunities for efficiency, where internal systems are lacking, what IT support is needed, and what goals need to be accomplished.
“Every successful mission starts with recon,” Xakia mused.
“Before you start charting your technology hopes and dreams, stop and collect some macro- and micro-level information.”
Secondly, counsel should list the strategic priorities for the business and make a triaged list of the legal department’s opportunities for improvement.
And finally, a drafted timeline of projects being planned for the coming years is necessary, detailing the high-level justifications for each project, estimated costs and duration, and designated responsibility for those projects.
“Implement your plan knowing that it may need to be revised as corporate visions and business realities change, but take comfort in knowing that you have a comprehensive, strategic guide to arm your department with the tools it needs to best serve your organisation,” Xakia concluded.
“Whatever the needs of your specific business, mapping out your legal technology requirements is an excellent place to start.”