Strategies and tools to help optimise in-house legal teams
In-house legal teams are often spending copious hours on low-value work; the chief legal evangelist at LawVu spoke about the strategies and technologies that can be implemented to address the problem.
Shaun Plant, chief legal evangelist at LawVu, spoke on The Corporate Counsel Show about the strategies and tools that can be used to help optimise in-house legal teams.
To continue reading the rest of this article, please log in.
Create free account to get unlimited news articles and more!
In the same episode, Mr Plant discussed what he sees as the hurdles currently facing such teams.
Legal teams often have their time largely invested in low-value tasks, he said, which can result in them being overworked and the value they contribute to the organisation dropping.
There are various strategies and technological solutions that can be implemented to free up time for in-house teams, thereby allowing them to focus on high-value tasks and allowing them to take a more proactive role in supporting the business.
One of these strategies is having a method for self-service — telling the business, here are the answers to certain problems, that you can go off and solve on your own, or get ahead on certain issues.
Another strategy is getting rid of “legal waste” — finding ways to optimise processes to get rid of efforts that legal teams put in that is not necessary. This could mean having a system for priorisiting work, or automating certain processes.
This could come in the form of an email system, a document management system, an electronic document signing or a contract management system.
In-house legal teams create a high volume of high-quality legal outputs, which can get lost if there is not a system of record — a central place to store them and share them within a team.
Building a repository for those legal outputs allows it to be accessed again easier and shared with the team to upskill all team members.
Information is often spread out across all the different tools in-house teams are using, and flicking between them is a significant drain on focus and time, Mr Plant explained.
Instead of constantly searching through all those systems, creating more of a connected framework will decrease unnecessary effort being put in.
“A legal workspace is right at the heart of a really productive team, but one which is integrated with those other tools that the organisation uses,” stated Mr Plant.
“Intake and triage are also some really good tools to add to the team’s ability to become more proactive.”
For instance, those in the business are able to send through a request on an intake form and get an immediate response back from the system where they are told it is allocated to somebody. Such legal technology automates workflows and captures data and metrics.
“The goal is to make in-house teams better connected to their work, better connected with their team and business colleagues, and better connected with the outcomes and value of what they add to the organisation,” stated Mr Plant.
Overall, it should allow in-house teams to become more proactive, he continued, which is often a reason why many lawyers chose in-house rather than private practice.
It also contributes to the teams’ integration in the broader business, as people no longer see legal as difficult to work with, or really busy and the matter brought to them is not seen as important, explained Mr Plant.
“I’m sure clients would like that kind of service,” he said, “but there’s going to be a cost associated with you being embedded in this way, which businesses sometimes don’t see as being valued”.
This makes it important to tell the story about the value the legal team adds to the business, Mr Plant highlighted.
“Often, we expect our efforts to speak for themselves. There might be a spreadsheet saying the team responded to 500 matters this year — which just tells the business you’ve been busy, but they don’t get an understanding of the value that adds to the business,” he continued.
The story should focus on the impact the team has had on the business and how it is aligned with the business’s objectives, outcomes and needs.
The transcript of this podcast episode was slightly edited for publishing purposes. To listen to the full conversation with Shaun Plant, click below: