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Eight reasons why visibility matters for in-house legal teams
Legal departments require clear visibility for effective work management. Here are 8 reasons why it is vital for in-house legal productivity.
Visibility is essential to in-house legal productivity.
The modern in-house legal department operates in a fast paced and multi-dimensional environment, overseeing regulatory compliance and legal risk management within the specific commercial business context and the multifaceted macro landscape. For such teams, productivity isn't just a matter of doing more with less; it's about aligning strategic objectives with day-to-day operations, ensuring resources are aptly used, and providing timely and effective support to the broader organization.
One fundamental factor that underpins these goals is the visibility of workloads. A Legal Department cannot be expected to effectively juggle the myriad of demands – legal and contextual – without clear sight of the work being demanded of them.
Below are eight reasons why.
1. Prioritization and allocation of resources
Clear understanding of work volumes
Without proper visibility, the in-house Legal Department cannot discern the volume of incoming tasks and their respective urgencies. To have awareness enables the team to prioritize work effectively and allocate resources where they are most needed.
Tackling high-impact issues first
Not all legal issues carry the same risk or importance. A visible workload enables the team to differentiate high-impact tasks from routine ones, ensuring that crucial matters are addressed promptly.
2. Increased collaboration and team efficiency
Transparency fosters collaboration
When legal team members can see what their colleagues are working on, they can better understand how their work interrelates, which paves the way for more collaborative efforts.
Visibility prevents multiple legal team members from inadvertently working on the same issue, thereby avoiding redundancy and wasted effort.
3. Enhanced accountability and responsibility
Ownership of tasks
When workloads are visible, it's clear who is responsible for each task, fostering a sense of ownership and accountability.
Visibility allows leaders to track the progress of tasks and ensure that responsibilities are being met in a timely and efficient manner.
4. Improved forecasting and planning
By having a clear view of workloads, Legal Departments can gather valuable data on work volumes, frequently asked questions, turnaround times, rising trends or risks, and areas of frequent demand. This data can inform future decisions and strategies.
Understanding workloads helps the team forecast when additional resources—whether human or technological—might be needed. This proactive approach ensures that the department doesn't become overwhelmed during peak times if there is seasonality or cyclicality to demand.
5. Enhanced stakeholder communication
Setting clear expectations
When stakeholders, such as other departments or executive teams, request legal assistance, visibility allows for clear communication regarding timelines and deliverables. Expectation management with stakeholders regarding delivery is a key to managing an under-resourced Legal Department.
Visibility means stakeholders can be updated on the progress of their legal requests, fostering trust and ensuring that there are no surprises. This visibility ensures that unexpected legal blockages can be managed without causing major (and costly) unexpected delays throughout the business.
6. Promotion of continuous improvement
Visibility enables the legal team to identify areas where tasks may be getting delayed or where there are consistent inefficiencies, providing an opportunity to introduce fresh resources, new processes or technology to overcome the issue.
With clear insight into workloads, the team can more readily solicit feedback, understand areas of improvement, and implement changes to optimize workflows.
7. Risk management and compliance
With the visibility of tasks and matters, potential legal risks can be detected early, allowing for timely intervention and mitigation.
The ability to see all ongoing and upcoming compliance-related tasks ensures that nothing slips through the cracks, reducing the potential for costly non-compliance incidents.
8. Mental health and wellbeing
Overworked legal professionals are more prone to burnout and mistakes. Visibility of workloads can highlight when members are overwhelmed, prompting necessary adjustments. A simple list can create a feeling of control, with the ability to see – and prioritize – workloads to understand what needs to be addressed first, and last.
Recognizing completed tasks and milestones boosts morale and motivation. Visibility provides the needed platform for acknowledgment and celebration.
Visibility with an in house matter management software for Legal Departments
Visibility of workloads in corporate Legal Departments through a legal matter management software is more than a mere administrative tool; it is the backbone of a productive and efficient team. By offering clarity on work volumes, priorities, responsibilities, and progress, the best legal matter management software solutions empower Legal Departments to operate at their best, add tangible value to the broader organization, and ensure that they remain at the forefront of legal and regulatory compliance. As organizations continue to navigate complex legal landscapes, the importance of workload visibility in driving legal productivity will only grow more profound.