The legal ops issue no-one’s talking about (yet)

by | Oct 8, 2021

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Legal operations is emerging as a profession in its own right, with the in-house legal industry realizing the need to move out of email and spreadsheets, to a place where there’s a well-designed and functional workflow, productivity, collaboration and reporting.

Often point solutions are the first port of call.

Even the stats are talking about point solutions – the 2021 State of the Industry report by CLOC shows that the most popular tech solutions are all point solutions – contract lifecycle management, e-signature, document management, e-billing and so on.

But point solutions aren’t the best option in every case… and there’s a headache that legal operators often don’t know about until it’s too late. It’s the extra work and inefficiencies created when an organization onboards a selection of individual point solutions from various vendors.

When these issues arise, or the ways of working aren’t behaving as they should, it often falls to the leader of legal operations, whether that’s the General Counsel or the Legal Operations Manager, to look for ways of resolving the issues.

What’s the point of point solutions?

The usual scenario is for a business to start looking at a solution to solve one problem at a time. The process then repeats for the next problem that presents itself, which results in another solution with yet another vendor.

The role of the legal operator, or person in charge of the legal tech, then becomes responsible for sorting out how to connect the different point solutions together and deal with the extra workload that point solutions create.

Having the individual point solutions all talking to each other doesn’t happen easily – meaning the patchwork of legal tech becomes a burden rather than a solution.

In addition, dealing with multiple tech vendors brings complexity to:

  • training and onboarding
  • logging of issues and bugs
  • security and IT
  • change management and user adoption
  • data storage
  • seeking executive approval for multiple software proposals
  • analytics and reporting

Point solutions do have benefits, and in some cases can provide a ‘quick fix’ for a specific legal function. Installing the first point solution can be a simple process, but when several point solutions are being managed for the different legal functions, it becomes a bit of a juggling act – not to mention, expensive.

Providing relief with the platform approach

The alternative is the platform approach, such as the In-house Legal Workspace, where one product provides a truly connected solution across all legal functions, such as matters, contracts, spend and insights, in one, cloud-based, secure platform. This means there’s only one vendor to deal with when managing procurement, security, implementation, and training and so on.

The rest of the business is already there …

Other verticals in the business, from marketing to sales to HR, are already using the platform approach to connect and unify their functions. For example in sales, Salesforce is the dominant product, providing a comprehensive platform for all sales functions together with integrations with other email, finance, and management solutions.

Yet, legal operations seem to have a long way to go to reach the operational finesse of their departmental counterparts.

Legal is realizing that as they’re acquiring more and more point solutions, another issue is arising – there’s no connection between the solutions, which means there’s no connection between the legal functions, the legal department, other departments, and the wider business.

The solution …

Solving the headache of having multiple point solutions to manage your legal department’s functions means looking for a solution that connects everything together.

The platform approach is the answer.

It’s where intake is triaged, matters are managed in a system of record, contracts have context, and data is collated in a structured format to use for metrics.

Supporting the legal functions by choosing the platform approach means it’s possible to create a clear strategy and make better business decisions, working out what’s needed for now, with the ability to scale and have a vision of what the future might look like.

Listen to Sam’s chat with The Corporate Counsel Show’s Jerome Doraisamy here, and learn more about how the headaches of legal ops can be remedied

In-House legal Department Whitepaper - LawVu

A platform approach to legal operations & digital transformation

Legal operations has been in a state of transformation for some time now. It has become an area of strategic imperative with 61% of legal departments now employing at least one legal operations professional. Download the whitepaper to learn how taking a platform approach will transform your legal operations strategy.

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