LegalTech isn’t just for large in-house legal departments. Learn how three small in-house legal teams deployed technology to find efficiency and time...
LegalTech for All: Possibilities for Small Legal Departments
Smaller Legal Departments are 120% less likely to have access to LegalTech. We’re working to change that - and imagining a world where LegalTech is accessible to all.
It’s an unfortunate reality that the digital transformation across the legal profession has been far from equitable.
As two law school deans wrote last year, “legal tech’s distributive effects will turn on the economic and legal structure of access to it. Legal tech tools that act as force-multipliers and allow lawyers to do more with less cannot democratize litigation if most lawyers and their clients are priced out of their use…The overriding imperative going forward will be to ensure that all parties have access to key technology and the data necessary to power it.”
For the in-house legal community, that certainly is not the case. (Yet).
According to Xakia’s Legal Operations Health Check, which surveyed hundreds of legal teams of various sizes, industries and locations:
- Across the board, teams of five lawyers or fewer were less equipped with legal operations software tools in every category. Every participating Legal Department received an overall health score; smaller teams’ average was 35% lower than teams of 100 or more lawyers
- Small teams were 120% less likely to have access to the legal technology tools now viewed among best practices, including legal matter management software, document management, and contract automation
- Small teams were 71% less likely to have access to legal analytics software to assess legal outcomes, measure operational efficiency or visualize workload and trends
- Small teams were 56% less likely to have access to spend management tools to analyze legal spend, work toward right-resourcing and track budget
That doesn’t sit right with us
At Xakia, our passion is ensuring that the LegalTech revolution works for all legal teams, whether they are one lawyer or 1,000! Just because you work in a small legal team, that shouldn't mean you can't benefit from LegalTech’s promise to make your life and your work more productive and more efficient – and maybe more enjoyable, too.
Imagine the possibilities if legal technology for in-house lawyers was truly democratized. Starting with modern matter management, there would be benefits of widespread adoption across the profession. We outline some of the benefits below.
1. Every project is handled by the right resource
Modern matter management solutions help you understand what internal resources are available by visualizing capacity, what external resources are available, from law firms to ALSPs (along with cost and track record) and which resources best match the type of work needed.
2. When work is right-resourced, the Legal Department is happier
Projects handled internally are better aligned with individual skill sets and experience levels, and work distribution is more fair and appropriate. Even for an army of one, this exercise matters: visualizing the work can illustrate to organization leadership when a workload is truly untenable, or identify projects that could be outsourced or eliminated.
Typically, Finance is happier, too, as the work that is outsourced is done so with more insight and purpose: The Legal Department is not engaging the most expensive law firms for simple, routine matters, and reoccurring work is batched to the same firms, so the organization no longer pays for double-work at multiple vendors.
3. Every in-house lawyer is empowered to focus on what matters most
In-house lawyers – especially those within smaller teams – burn a lot of time on work that is, to be blunt, not worthy of their expertise. Some of this is on very simple, non-strategic work, but some of it is from pure inefficiency: searching for that last contract, going back and forth with business clients to get basic information, reinventing the proverbial wheel.
Modern legal management can liberate in-house lawyers from these time-consuming tasks in so many ways. For one, through a portal for Legal Intake and Triage, the Legal Department can automate repetitive processes – like requesting a new sales agreement – and collect all of the requisite information upfront. (No more email chasing business clients.)
Because modern legal matter management collects and visualizes Legal Department data, it also categorizes the work, so Legal Departments can start segmenting work based on priority – and working to delegate, automate or eliminate the work that doesn’t move the proverbial needle. For example, Xakia provides a quadrant that maps all matters by their complexity and strategic value. The quadrant of matters that are both simple and of low strategic value is the perfect place to start looking for efficiencies.
The ultimate goal: To empower in-house lawyers to focus their time and talents on the work that is challenging and of high strategic value to the organization.
4. Every organization sees the value of its Legal Department
For small Legal Departments working without a modern matter management system, any sort of reporting must be done manually – and based on a mishmash of spreadsheets, to-do lists, email repositories and human memory. It’s a time-consuming process, and one that is almost guaranteed to undersell the Legal Department’s contributions.
With legal analytics software, reports are automated, so they can take seconds, not hours. Templates can be customized and saved, so reports can vary by audience - consider a version for the CFO, CEO and Board. Best of all, these reports take into account the priorities of the business leaders - they don’t simply provide a list of projects with no context. Modern matter management dashboards visually demonstrate the Legal Department’s most impactful work in terms of risk management and the organization’s strategic direction.
This business-minded reporting elevates in-house lawyers from “The Department of No” to strategic advisors – bringing more access, respect, consideration and potentially compensation.
Legal technology truly can be for everyone – and so can the benefits
These do not just have to be high hopes. While in house legal matter management solutions have definitely been traditionally designed for and marketed to large teams, it has now significantly expanded access, and predictable per-seat subscriptions have displaced costly enterprise licenses.
At Xakia, we believe that in-house legal teams of all sizes should have access to cost-effective and simple legal matter management software. To learn more, get in touch with the Xakia team today for a demo.
If you would like to learn more about legal operations for small Legal Departments and how to address the pain points, download our white paper now.