How to Add Efficiency to Your Legal Department

How to Add Value and Efficiency to Your Legal Department

CEOs see their in-house counsel as advisors who should support business objectives. Yet legal departments are under increasing pressure to justify their value, increase efficiency, and control costs.

Legal departments play a central role in modern businesses. They are required to have a deep knowledge of the elements of a contract to ensure that their company remains compliant and avoids unnecessary litigation. One of the most advantageous ways to help improve your legal department efficiency is implementing contract management software for legal departments. 

signing a contract on paper

The importance of a legal department in a company

A corporate legal department is tasked with providing legal advice and services to a company. What legal departments do is handle any legal issues that may arise, such as drafting employment agreements to managing lawsuits and litigation. As legislation and business regulations become more complex, legal departments today play a significant role in a company’s success since compliance issues cost a lot of time and money.

Here’s a look at the most critical roles of a company’s legal department:

  1. Provide legal advice and guidance

Many companies deal with a large number of legal issues during their daily operations. These issues require guidance from an accredited legal advisor, who can help resolve sales, purchasing, partnerships, licensing, customer support, and other legal troubles. Additionally, a company’s legal department is tasked with keeping up with current legislation and ensuring that its activities are compliant with it.

  1. Prosecution of court cases and litigation management

A critical role of legal departments is to represent and defend the company and its employees during a trial. For example, in case of a breach of contract terms by another company the legal department will gather evidence and existing claims in favor of their company. Then, they will represent the company in court and protect their rights and interests.

a legal officer reads a document
  1. Prepare and draft documents

Law departments are responsible for drafting contracts and other legal documents that are compliant with existing legislation. Additionally, they’re tasked with managing the agreement and ensuring that their company and the other party hold to their obligations throughout its lifecycle.

Contract management software for legal departments

Today’s businesses must conduct their operations in record time if they want to stay afloat in the market. That means that their legal department must keep up to ensure the company’s success. CMS enables legal teams to work quicker, more effectively, and more efficiently. Robust contract management software for legal departments includes contract creation templates, business solution integration, data and analytics tools, repository oversight, risk management, and more.

The benefits of contract management software for legal departments include:

  1. Shorter approval times through automation and customized workflows.
  2. Increased visibility, compliance, and risk management through a centralized repository.
  3. Decreased number of missed deadlines and critical renewal dates by implementing notifications.
  4. The company takes on reduced agreement risk by using data and analytics tools. 
  5. Improved document management and organization by storing business contracts on the cloud.
  6. Ensure that both parties fulfill their roles and obligations of the agreement and that it’s beneficial to the company.

Those were some of the findings of the Chief Legal Officer survey, released the consulting firm, Altman Weil. The survey, based on responses from 336 law departments nationwide, showed that legal budgets are increasing.

Increasing budgets of legal entities

But legal departments are still stretched thin as lawyers contend with an ever-more complex regulatory landscape, internal pressures to justify and contain costs, and increased billing rates from outside counsel.

Legal Departments Are Using Technology to Improve Efficiency

When the Altman Weil survey asked chief legal officers what their company’s executives and board valued most, the top response was “advising company leaders,” followed by “supporting business objectives.” The traditional lawyer role of “managing risk” ranked third, followed by “controlling legal spend” and “managing compliance.”

This places in-house counsel in a tough position. They face ethical obligations to manage risk and ensure regulatory compliance but are also expected to contain costs and be a strategic partner with the business side.

The survey showed that law departments are responding to these challenges by shifting more work to in-house lawyers, increasing the department’s efficiency of internal procedures and making better use of technology.

the efficiency of the in-house counsels

And the results have been good. Almost 71 percent of those that reported increasing the efficiency of internal procedures gave these efforts a value rating of 6 or better on a scale of 1 to 10. Of those reporting a greater use of technology tools in the last 12 months, 80 percent gave their new technology a value rating of 6 or better.

Role of AI and machine learning in improving the efficiency of legal departments

In recent years, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies has further transformed the way legal departments operate. These technologies are capable of performing tasks such as analyzing contracts, identifying patterns in litigation, and even predicting potential legal issues that could arise in the future. By automating routine tasks, AI and ML can free up legal professionals to focus on more strategic initiatives. Furthermore, the predictive capabilities of these technologies can help legal departments anticipate and mitigate risks before they become serious issues, thus adding significant value to the business.

Moreover, the role of collaboration tools in enhancing efficiency cannot be overstated. These platforms allow for real-time communication and information sharing, reducing the need for time-consuming email threads and in-person meetings. In the context of contract negotiation, collaboration tools can provide a centralized space where all stakeholders can view, comment on, and revise contract terms. This not only streamlines the negotiation process, but also improves transparency and ensures that everyone is on the same page. By leveraging such tools, legal departments can drive efficiency, foster better teamwork, and ultimately deliver more value to the business.

The Next Step: Using Technology for More Efficient Contract Negotiations

As law departments look for ways that technology can improve efficiency, there’s one critical area that has long been neglected – the contract negotiation process. Negotiations remain stuck in the clunky 1990s technology of Microsoft Word and emails, instead of moving on to a more streamlined solution.

Parley Pro’s cloud-based software provides that more streamlined solution.

Efficient Contract Negotiations

Our user-friendly interface lets stakeholders comment on contracts in a way that everyone can see and respond to. When it’s time to incorporate changes, the comments are right there, next to the clause in question. No more time wasted searching through email threads and going back and forth comparing different redlined versions. No more of the business side wondering what legal is up to, and vice versa. The contract negotiation process becomes more efficient, more secure, and easier for everyone to understand.

Parley Pro helps the legal department support business objectives with a dashboard that tracks contracts as they move through the negotiation and approval stages – improving efficiency while still allowing legal to minimize risk and ensure regulatory compliance.

We invite you to give Parley Pro a try, at no risk. Contact us to learn more or schedule your demo.

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