The Association for Corporate Counsel (ACC) recently released their 2021 Legal Technology Report for In-house Counsel. With respondents from 18 countries, the results of the survey offer a global view of the state of legal technology among corporate legal teams.
If there’s one takeaway from the report, it’s this: For in-house teams, legal tech isn’t optional — it’s an absolute must.
"In today’s in-house legal department, technology is no longer just a nice-to-have. With growing amounts of data to review, a variety of third parties — law firms, service providers, internal business units, etc. — to work with, and an evolving set of … requirements, corporate counsel must leverage technology to adequately protect and serve their organization."
Of course, how each team leverages legal tech to “protect and serve” the organization can differ widely.
Across respondents, it’s clear that document management has been a priority for some time. Legal research and document repository tools rank as the top two most-used technologies, adopted by 64% and 54% of teams, respectively.
But what’s even more notable is that in large organizations with over $1B in revenue, those percentages jump even higher: 67% for legal research tools and 69% for document repositories — a full 15 percentage points higher than the average.
Many corporate legal departments are also in the process of assessing new technologies or upgrades to current systems. Again, the survey found that managing documents is a top priority. Document repositories and document review tools occupy two of the top four spots among technologies being considered for purchase or upgrade.
Regardless of which technologies are being used or considered, the driving force behind adopting new legal tech solutions is quite consistent. Respondents reported that increasing efficiency is one of the main goals that drives corporate legal departments to seek new or upgraded legal tools, along with streamlining work processes.
When it comes to increasing efficiency, many organizations have turned to document and email management solutions because of how central these tools are to legal work — especially when teams are dispersed.
For Ellisons Solicitors, NetDocuments was the right fit to maximize efficiency. “We needed to furnish our people with the ability to work anywhere and to work efficiently and that’s what NetDocuments offers,” says John Turner, Ellisons’ COO. Read the full case study here.
Ensuring legal defensibility during uncertain times is essential for any corporate legal team. So what tools do in-house legal professionals turn to for help?
Survey findings revealed that respondents rank e-discovery technology — including legal hold, data collection/processing, and document review tools — at the top of the list for ensuring defensibility.
NetDocuments offers numerous solutions that support research and e-discovery, including document review and legal/litigation holds. Securely store documents and emails — and then find what you need, when you need it with tools like advanced search and custom metadata, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), and Highlights Powered by LexisNexis®.
According to the ACC’s report, “An overwhelming majority of participants (77%) reported that they wanted technology to help them improve contracts.” Contract management software also ranked highly for its effectiveness.
That comes as no great surprise to anyone working in corporate legal.
But what you might not have considered is how contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions work with other essential tools in your tech stack, such as your document management system (DMS).
Fortunately, we’ve done the work of examining how these two beneficial technologies can complement each other — and deliver even bigger benefits when used together. To learn more, check out our whitepaper, CLM x DMS: How Supercharged Legal Departments Deliver Faster, Better Work.
At the close of the survey, respondents were asked about the biggest pain points that corporate legal departments face when implementing new technology — some of which you may be a little too familiar with. The top five pain points reported include:
Apart from empathizing with other in-house counsel, GCs, and legal ops professionals, these pain points also highlight some key benefits to look for when shopping for new legal tech solutions. By paying close attention to these concerns, you may be able to help your team avoid the same fate with your next software implementation.
The process of selecting and implementing a new DMS can be incredibly intimidating. But we’ve done our best to ease or eliminate the pain that comes with change management:
Our users consistently report that the NetDocuments platform is intuitive and easy to learn — even when dealing with a fully remote implementation.
Take it from Abby, a paralegal with Walker Morris: “Because of the pandemic, I didn’t get much training on NetDocuments. But because it’s so simple, it was really easy to pick up and use. I never had any problems with it and I never found myself calling IT, asking a lot of questions.” Read the full case study here.
By selecting a robust yet easy-to-use DMS platform, corporate legal teams experience a smoother implementation process and are able to enjoy the full benefits and maximize their return on investment.
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