The Significance of GC (General Counsel) in Implementing GRC

Every business faces risks and no system is efficient enough to eliminate all the risks. Not every risk is harmful to the company; it can also be seen as an opportunity, allowing the business to thrive on it. As the top management assesses a range of risks, it is the responsibility of GC to direct them towards those risks that can be fatal for the company and ensure that a comprehensive plan is in place to tackle them. And an efficient GC will use the most proficient processes supported by unified technology platforms available to mitigate these risks.

This goal is met by employing an integrated technology platform that enables companies to combine a variety of systems that manage and store data regarding legal, risk, and compliance activities on a single, secure, and collaborative framework. This empowers the GC to improve visibility and identify high-risk matters while using data from across systems and departments to manage legal, risk, and compliance more strategically and holistically. Getting a technology-enabled system will help coordinate many complexities of GRC and allow the GC to work with the board and senior management across multiple functions to focus on the people side of the governance while providing them with accurate, consistent and clear information and advice.

For this, General Counsels are looking for a secured process that allows document exchange and collaboration within a framework that renders information control and governance suitable for protecting sensitive and confidential corporate information. Innovations and developments in legal tech have brought forth SaaS-based extended enterprise collaboration solutions which are proving to be the strongest alternative in improving access, efficiency, security, and value of the legal processes.

In-house legal teams are employing secure cloud-based repositories such as exchange for encrypted documents which enables the legal department in preparing, reviewing and conducting due diligence during contract negotiations and ongoing contract renewals. These SaaS-based solutions help the legal team manage global distribution of highly sensitive or confidential documents to external parties meanwhile enabling compliance through global access controls and details audit trails.

An efficient General Counsel will execute a well-planned and thorough GRC strategy because he/she understands its benefits which are: improved decision-making, more optimal IT investments, elimination of silos, and reduced fragmentation among divisions and departments, to name a few.

Future Ready Technologies has enabled legal teams to not only fetch the data but also help automate and better capture legal risks. Hence, the modern day General Counsel is keen to adopt a Enterprise Legal Management or a legal ecosystem on the cloud which can help create/coordinate, monitor, manage, analyze and evaluate policies that control/map them to regulatory and internal compliance requirements.

A General Counsel today is expected to take on responsibilities that were once part of external legal teams while facing an ever- wide range of legal issues and take on a range of legal-adjacent tasks such as risk, compliance, and strategy. As they formulate a GRC framework to solve and mitigate the legal issues facing the corporation, they also need to keep in mind the people and processes which will be affected by the framework. – Parimal Chanchani, Director,  PracticeLeague

It is a requisite for a General Counsel to prepare an apt cultural environment in parallel to employing any software solution. It entails assessing the organization’s risk and examining controls and if the adequate controls are in place.  A coherent leader will evaluate if the controls are working or not and add controls wherever needed to fix those that aren’t delivering as intended.

Legal industry, like other industries, is fast catching up with the tech transformation where top professionals like GCs have fathomed the reality of becoming a tech-savvy leader in spearheading their organization. Today’s General Counsels are adopting technology solutions to develop integrated risk management capabilities, have a highly organized compliance and audit programs, and streamline services across internal teams and external service providers.

They are doing so by implementing ELM software, analytics, and various collaboration tools, thereby establishing a solid tech foundation for their departments. Reports have estimated that many general counsels are now employing automating routine document management and invoice-handling. Apart from AI and machine learning, GCs have also identified the importance of blockchain technology and smart contracts and apprehended the enormous potential it brings in revolutionizing standard form contracting.

A successful organization is driven not just by better business decisions but also by agility and digital transformation. Speed to market is emerging as a top capability to stay competitive. While it is daunting for in-house legal teams to transform their processes overnight, given their restricted environment of increasing regulations, the General Counsel has to balance speed with compliance and stay agile in order to move fast enough to stay ahead and competitive.

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