Much of the commentary on disruption of the legal profession focuses on the uncertain future for law firms and the power of clients to drive and benefit from that disruption. This disruption is most likely to come from corporate legal teams.
"Who me?" we hear you say.
As a member of a corporate legal department, you may not feel like a disruptor - or somebody vulnerable to disruption - but corporate legal teams and the businesses they support are vulnerable to the same disruptive trends: automation, consumer /end user empowerment and unconventional competition.
Understanding these disruptions, and their impact on what you do, will empower you to be a disruptor, not the disrupted and ensure your corporate legal team provides the most efficient and effective legal support for your business.
- Understand where you add value
- Identify opportunities to shift focus from routine to high skill, high touch work
By doing this, you are in the box seat to do the disrupting for both you and your business.
The platform from which these can be achieved is built on data and collaboration.
Corporate legal teams are often insightful across the whole of the business they support. This means that capturing meaningful legal team data can lead to whole of business insights. But it needs to be the right data, captured using tools that are quick and easy to implement, low cost but effective, able to support experimentation (see below) and designed specifically for corporate legal teams.
What is the right data?
In addition to the usual operational details, data needs to be captured that can provide a picture of the size and complexity of matters and the extent to which matters contribute to the corporate strategy and manages risks. When this data is mapped it will show the low value, low risk and volume work that could be done more efficiently, freeing up lawyers to focus on high skill elements less susceptible to disruption.
Most importantly, the output of data will identify opportunities for innovations such as automated contracts, self – help tools, business training, decision trees and checklists. This in turn allows intelligent decisions in collaboration with the business about where authentic innovation can be best targeted. Then it is time to experiment.
Experiments need to be run once opportunities for change are identified. State the hypothesis, design an inexpensive experiment to test the highest risks in that hypothesis (often a pilot to test), run the experiment, gather data, analyse the results and iterate (credit here to www.inventium.com.au).
Good data enables an effective identification, design and testing process and ensures that innovations deliver sustainable change that adds value. Well designed experiments and tested innovations have the capacity to future proof corporate legal teams by moving them away from work susceptible to disruption towards high value, high skilled work embedded in the business strategy.
To hear more, visit Xakia (pronounced Zakia) at CLOC 2017 May 9-11 at booth 42 inside the front doors to the Grand Ballroom.