What are legal operations?
Legal operations are the essence of every corporation. The legal industry is evolving with increased demand for legal services that continue to be trending in any form of business. It is responsible for producing efficient plans for in-house legal teams and enhances their work proficiency with better decision strategies. The set of activities are much broader comprising intra- and inter-functional collaboration, innovative legal solutions to the clients, managing financial matters, technology, vendor management, data analysis to maximize the effective delivery of legal services. CLOC's model is based on twelve core competencies that are divided into 3 layers, specifically foundational, advanced, and mature level competencies. In other words, legal operations have turned down the concept of in-house legal from "cost center" to "value-creator".
Legal operations professionals are involved in strategic prioritization of tasks, working on technology implementations, vendor management, financial/budget operations, risk, and knowledge management. Therefore, it is key to free up the legal operations team for more high-value legal work instead of re-inventing the wheel. In other words, the objective should be to take all non-legal tasks, like administrative issues, off the plates of in-house lawyers. This will improve the performance of lawyers and will drive efficiency enhancement for the organization. With the help of technology, legal operation managers can redefine the way that legal services are delivered by legal departments.
When did Legal Operations Decouple from Corporate Legal Operations?
Until early 2010, legal operations were not a separate department. It was part of Corporate Legal Operations. Over time, the Legal industry realized that it needs a specialist who has the right expertise and vast knowledge to manage departmental work, like technology support, record, and financial management, or analytics. In 2010, the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) was established in the USA which introduced the legal operations role around the world as an industry-recognized profession.
Technology is shaping the Future of Legal Industry- Not a secret anymore
Artificial Intelligence is incredibly transforming every walk of life at a phenomenal speed. Many researchers strongly believe that people will witness an absolutely different world by 2050 more than anything in history. From mobile phones to drone planes, it's already present everywhere in our digital lives. High-tech appliances and innovative gadgets have made our life more comfortable and stress-free and makeover the industrial landscape. It has massively altered business processes in almost every sector, including transportation, healthcare, cybersecurity, agriculture, finance, and even the entertainment industry. Now everything has a flock of your fingers. Its impact is no different in the legal industry, the impactful change in client's expectations, workforce demographics, and work styles have given rise to the trends of legal operations tools. You can find different kinds of tools such as biometric signature tools of legal documents, advanced research tools, document management software, and AI-powered finance systems to track expenses, manage money all-in-one or liability examination, etc. These tools support faster execution of legal models, centralizing and automating legal data, eliminating the boring and time-consuming activities from a lawyer's life. Many businesses and corporations are adopting new technology to improve their legal operations management.
Manual outdated workflows and the use of antiquated technology lead to slow down the success drives of the in-house legal team. Legal tech is playing a significant role to alleviate inefficient processes and automate legal activities. Traditionally, lawyers are engaged in repetitive and fact-based tasks around 63%. Many Legal departments have shifted their interest in LegalTech for performing these tasks without compromising the quality of work. Legal professionals are more likely to take on technology to offer faster and more productive solutions. If legal companies do not adopt technology, they will find themselves in a pool of legal teams with an average growing pace and more compliance risks. Clients are now expecting more efficient strategic planning and financial management legal services. Legal operations tools allow lawyers to manage legal budget, data management, legal spending and achieve their goals. The secret of the success of legal organizations is the best combination of a skilled lawyer and smart legal tools. It is a smart hack that every legal team should adapt to achieve productivity for today and the future.
Tech Tools in Legal Operations -The Next Big Thing
Tech tools improve the abilities of the in-house legal team to grow the company. We can say that the legal in-house industry is at a crossroads. Application of these tools means great success to achieve transparency, high efficiency, and improved handling of complexities. In the legal business world today, an adaptation of legal operations tools can benefit a lot in the daily operations of lawyers. Here are the best legal operations tools for the different needs of lawyers and legal teams.
Discovery is the term used for the initial phase of litigation where the parties in a dispute are required to provide each other relevant information and records, along with all other evidence related to the case.
Electronic discovery (e-Discovery) software allows the review, tag, process and, creation of electronic files and documents for legal professionals. A cloud-based e-Discovery platform streamlines the entire litigation lifecycle from end-to-end document reviewing to the handling of client requests.
The best advantage of this platform is easy integration with your database and local storage. Modern e-discovery tools streamline the discovery process of import data, search, and filter out specific records and also maintain the security of e-documents.
- Contract Lifecycle Management
Contract Management systems empower the legal teams to focus on high-value and more strategic work. It allows you to standardize processes by creating contract workflows. Automatic notifications setup for terminations and events in any legal documents, associate fields, and file version control are key features that help to organize the document exceptionally.
It improves client communication with tracking of pending approval or any prospective contract data change. Contract life cycle management is adding great value to the legal world. Check out how Bigle Legal Contract Lifecycle Management features can help your legal team.
Lawyers can value contract management systems that manage all the operations of policy from creation to approval of thousands of policies. It can provide full visibility of each stage for lawyers who are dealing with multiple legal contracts at once. Smart tagging features help to navigate all legal contracts and related data in a saving and efficient manner of time. Lawyers can save their valuable time with smart archiving of contracts and can easily access any contract whether old or new. Automated emails and task updates enable lawyers to be highly quick and responsive in every process. It also ensures the security of each contract, so that only authenticated people have required access.
Any legal operations team needs e-signature software. It’s a must for any organization since it speeds contract conversion and brings security and transparency to the company’s operations.
Bigle Legal e-signature allows legal ops to count with the best user experience, plus a robust and secure e-sign system that collects all relevant data of the process.
Forget the manual tasks involved in following up a signature process, now you can track the progress of the signature in real-time from the dashboard. Moreover, once all people have signed, the system automatically sends a copy of the document signed to all the parties involved, eliminating the need to scan your documents and send them over.
- Document Automation
This is the required tool that every in-house legal department must have to deal efficiently with high-volume documents, memos, filing, contracts, etc. Bigle Legal offers a great management system to move away from annoying manual paper works and improves document management.
Document automation tools are incredibly time savvy. It can design smart document templates for attorneys within a couple of minutes. Automating repetitive document creation saves hours for legal teams plus mitigates the risk of typos and wrong copy-pasting. In addition, the legal team has centralized access to the legal knowledge so that when a change needs to be done in any document, it can be updated easily so it ensures the rest of the organization uses the last version of the document.
Bigle Legal’s document automation system is the best combination of stellar features. You can easily share your forms with the client so that they can fill out missing information in your document. It improves collaboration within the entire team, smooth communication, and boosts efficiency by acquiring full control over every document's access permissions.
- Contract Negotiation System
One annoying and time-consuming process is the negotiation of the final text of any agreement. Once the document's first version is created (better if it’s automated of course), the document is exchanged by email to the counterparty. Then modifications and comments are added in-track changes in the document processor and sent back to the initiator of the negotiation. This going back and forth can happen multiple times until the parties reach a final agreement.
The problem is the dispersion of versions that the use of email chains causes. You never know in which version you are at now, and it’s difficult to track previous versions to refer to changes suggested in the past.
With the Bigle Legal Contract Negotiation module, this piece of the workflow is solved. You can now send over a link to the counterparty so that any changes and comments are tracked directly in your document. This way you avoid risks of untracked changes and you have centralized all your versions of the negotiation in one panel.
Is Legal Operations for any lawyer?
Many legal professionals have the misconception that the use of efficient legal operation tools will cost them their jobs. However, the alarming fact is snubbing the opportunities that can reduce workload and accelerate their capabilities to maximize the productivity of organizations. Lawyers should optimize their legal functions with technology to make sure not to lag behind the competitors.
Legal document creation is the top-ranked task in every lawyer's to-do list. It includes a lot of pesky paperwork including capturing data from different resources, copy-pasting work, reviewing the final document, and escalation to the company's head/manager for their signatures, and the last part is meeting in person or sending documents for client signatures or approval. Using automation software such as Bigle Legal is the most efficient and secure solution for this entire process. Your half task is done in a fraction of time with the document automation tool of Bigle and the other part can be streamlined with its e-signature feature. Improve your legal operations management through Bigle. It benefits legal departments and lawyers to get accurate work legally and technically. This stellar legal operation tool reduces risks, eliminates human errors, and protects your legal teams against issues rooting from non-compliant or inaccurate content.
Legal industries are now investing more in trending technologies than before. To keep up with the client's expectations, the effective use of tools for legal operations is the roadmap to your business's success. The impact of technology offers higher transparency, a decline in error, and improves the delivery of legal services. Lawyers need to empower themselves with technology instead of traditional old-fashioned operations.