Earlier this year in response to the significant change in perspective and approach taking place in the legal industry, we published the white paper The Agent of Change. We also reflected on the results of Altman Weil’s annual “Law Firms in Transition” survey in a post. And now a recent article in Inside Counsel yet again underscores this change, particularly around technology adoption, and how corporate counsel is leading the way.
No longer do many corporations simply accept that their legal departments have less predictability in their budgets because of the nature of their work. Now, like other corporate departments, the GC’s office must provide more accurate predictions for the “quality, timing and cost of services.” As a result, legal departments are leading the way with adopting technology to increase efficiency and predictability through “automation of processes, resource and budgetary management and tracking.”
Connie Brenton, co-founder of the non-profit Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), puts it succinctly:
“Corporate executives expect the GC’s office to be a business counselor to the firm, and to discuss numbers, data and analytics. Efficiency is now essential for legal departments, and this has advanced software’s role and accelerated technology adoption.”
The Inside Counsel article also outlines that many of the useful technologies available fall within the specific categories of e-billing, contract management, document management, e-discovery technology, e-signature software, dashboards, and IP management and analytics solutions.
While the department may be on board with adopting the necessary technology, it’s important to show the return on investment to the C-Suite. Jeremiah Chan, Legal Director of Google’s Global Patents, emphasizes the importance of departments doing their homework, figuring out the user stories and defining the criteria for success.
As also mentioned in The Agent of Change and in the Altman Weil post, outside counsel’s role in creating change is also essential. Firms, too, must consider adopting technology in order to gain the greater efficiency their clients are seeking. And those firms that do adopt will likely have the edge over their competitors.