“You don’t need a large team to provide litigation services effectively,” is the message being touted in Exterro’s 2018 In-house Legal Benchmarking Report.
The report found smaller teams were far more likely to perform most of their litigation services in-house than their larger counterparts.
For such teams, this increase in conducting of litigation in-house was higher than previous years had depicted, showing almost 70 per cent of legal teams conducted most of their litigation services in-house compared to 50 per cent last year, with increased satisfaction in service provision also noted.
The report then asked the question: “How are these smaller in-house legal teams able to do this?”
Results showed that legal departments are embracing legal project management, which it noted includes principles such as scheduling, budgeting, defining of roles and responsibilities, as well as the evaluation of policies and procedures on a regular basis.
Sixty-five per cent of legal departments consider themselves structured, managed, or optimised, according to the findings, while only 11 per cent of respondents reported an ad hoc style approach to management, described as an “experimental, ever-changing process.”
Increased efficiency was also aligned to the embracing of technology with respondents indicating that their in-house legal departments are using, on average, three-and-a-half dedicated legal software tools.
The top technologies used by in-house departments are document management software, at 60 per cent uptake and legal hold technology for litigation anticipation, used by more than half of surveyed respondents.
E-billing, matter management and e-discovery data collection tools are all used by upward of 40 per cent of in-house departments, with the report stating that these are “the best technologies for reducing costs and creating efficiencies”.
In conclusion, the report conceded that “legal departments of all sizes are successfully moving operations in-house by taking advantage of project management principles and available technologies.”
It did note, however, that “there is still room for improvement,” citing that in some cases, this may mean “better adherence to existing policies,” while for others, integrated software platforms can “manage multiple aspects of legal operations” to increase efficiencies.