A new historical business divide: (BC) Before Corona and (AC) After Corona. Lessons learned from Corporate Legal Departments.

In these uncertain times, only one thing is certain: previously normal ways of working are no longer relevant. The current global pandemic has served to highlight the shortcomings of traditional legal business systems, and those who were either slow or unwilling to adopt 21st century technology found themselves severely disadvantaged in what became, virtually overnight, a very different business landscape.

Working remotely used to be regarded as a perk for a few; during the lockdowns instituted by governments around the world, it became and, in many instances, continues to be the new normal.

American writer and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Friedman said the 2020 pandemic has created a new historical divide: (BC) Before Corona and (AC) After Corona. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the in-house legal world.

Legal, notoriously slow on the uptake when it comes to instituting new ways of working, especially in the area of technology, found itself caught short. The entire legal ecosystem has been affected and the now lengthy debate as to whether or not to join the digital world is over: Cloud and SaaS (Software as a Service) is here to stay.
During lockdown, the advantages of using a strong Cloud-based system such as LawVu quickly became apparent.

Several clients who use the Lawvu platform reported to us that having their workforce switch to working from home was a simple transition. Ensuring the availability of a screen, a good chair, internet connection, and LawVu, was all the staff really required.

But it was a different story for several organisations who are not LawVu clients yet. Their problems were as numerous as they were serious, and extremely frustrating. Lacking a Cloud-based system, all their data was held on servers’ local networks drives which meant they were only able to access documents and files remotely via their Virtual Private Network (VPN). Because of the limitations of the VPN, which wasn’t set up to support access by so many more users at the same time, workflow slowed dramatically.

Suddenly, Cloud-based platforms are becoming common practice. It’s a huge change given that only six months ago many business institutions had in place anti-Cloud policies and mandates. Sensible and informative conversations about security audits – discussions that weren’t being entertained BC – are currently taking place.

The financial fallout from the pandemic will reverberate around the world for years to come and industry recognises the need to adopt smart and secure ways of working and to also ensure a practical “business as normal” system is in place should workforces, entire or in part, be required to be based at home in the future.

Also, making up for or minimising losses caused by the pandemic and the consequent slowing of business has become a priority – costs are being closely examined. Which includes the workforce.

LawVu offers a system that helps reduce legal spend while increasing the efficacy of in-house legal departments. Our efficient and integrated matter and document management system reduces administration and low level work, thus enabling staff to focus on high level tasks.

Transparency is a key LawVu attribute: metrics are visible and data easily accessible. That same transparency – the ability to scope out work, track the output and end result – also translates to work done by external law firms, an important factor when it comes to keeping control of your legal spend in the new and evolving AC world.

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