There are various technical and legal challenges faced by an in-house legal team due to the enormous data incoming from various other enterprise applications. It becomes even more complex when the task of sifting through data is combined with the need to interact with those entities. Therefore, legal professionals are now looking for a tech-enabled solution that helps them face these challenges more efficiently and systematically.
With the explosion of data, it is becoming increasingly complex and difficult to manage the governance, risk, and compliance functions within an organization. As reported, in-house legal teams are now looking at regulatory issues as their biggest litigation threat and are closely working more than ever with their compliance organizations at efficiently identifying and mitigating risks. As opposed to the past, the corporate legal team and their compliance counterpart are no longer separate entities with isolated and siloed functions but a complementary body that coordinate their efforts to achieve the organization’s business objectives.
A quintessential legal and compliance team at any given point is laden with managing almost three or four dozen discrete and complex processes that require technological support. This includes processes such as matter management, e-discovery, claims litigation management, incident tracking, legal risk management, contract management, etc. which include an interplay with other IT-driven, in-house enterprise software applications such as accounts payable, HR systems, and more. Without an integrated enterprise management solution, it can become very difficult for any organization to handle these processes and interactions while managing them effectually.
Modern-day GCs working with their legal and compliance team aim for total visibility into their operations sans the burden of unsynchronized interaction with various software/enterprise systems and processes. Pioneering in-house teams are seeking an integrated Enterprise Legal Management platform that comprises not only enterprise-class core legal and compliance applications but also robust, open integration capabilities with packages connectors to compatible third-party systems. PracticeLeague LegalTech has revolutionized the processes of in-house counsels by bringing their entire team on a single collaborative platform increasing the efficiency and productivity of the entire team as a whole. The integrated system will adapt to the company’s current needs while allowing for flexibility in accommodating any future changes and growth. Integrating an extensive partner network provides the means by which organization will attain transparency required across legal, compliance and other enterprise functions.
Enterprise Legal Management (ELM) is defined as means of integrating legal, compliance, risk-related, and other data and processes across the enterprise to maximize operational efficiency to allow actionable insights leading to more informed legal and business decisions. This entails bringing together a network of technology providers that address the needs of the organization as a whole.
Gartner in their research paper argues that ELM should be seen as a subdivision of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) platforms and calls it a part of a growing category of GRC solutions. This enables enhancing and supporting interactions between the general counsel and other executive leadership.
ELM solutions have moved beyond basic legal matter management and e-billing processes and must include:
- Seamlessly connect with other legal and non-legal enterprise applications and data sources such as accounts payable, contract management, and reporting solutions
- Keep up with changing regulations that affect the overall organization
- Manage their associated controls, policies, and procedures
This application will streamline the in-house legal team’s work and enhance the collaboration among both the internal teams and with external service providers. It will offer them the ability to leverage data from across systems and departments to alleviate risk and manage legal matters and compliance strategically, along with their associated costs.
ELM solutions will empower the GCs to make decisions that heavily rely on metrics and analytics instead of instincts, thereby, transforming the legal team into a data-driven organization. This will enable the leaders to easily sift through enormous data and make informed decisions ranging from which matters to bring in-house to how to better negotiate rates within a particular market.
As more and more organizations are adopting the ELM strategy, it has resulted in the creation of a legal ecosystem which is known to be a connected platform of data sources, enterprise systems, and dedicated applications. This enables the users to access the best features from dedicated solutions and having the ability to report on data across multiple systems without many different logins. Moreover, IT departments can now justify the technological investments for current usage as well as respond to future requests through this scalable technology platform. Any database application connected to the ecosystem would take advantage of the established reporting, user security, mobile access, workflows, and audit trail.
As organizations adapt to the technological advancements, the position of general counsel will be a key area to observe as it overlaps and is involved with different entities within the organization itself. This innovation in legal technology and its increasing usage promises efficiency, data reliability, and scalability that will prove to have a good ROI which is necessary to control legal costs.
Owing to legal tech, ELM has expanded its role and scope beyond mere spend and matter management and evolved into a more comprehensive system that includes processes such as optimized contract management, NDA creation, and distribution, legal holds, legal service requests and much more.
As corporate legal teams are driven with the objective of improving efficiency and enhanced productivity while meeting their corporate goals, they are looking to deploy leading-edge technology for various legal processes which will help them gain a competitive advantage over their competitors.
And one such process which is capturing the eye of top counsels is applied artificial intelligence for contract management. Research has found that inefficient contracting can cause anywhere between 5%-40% loss on a given deal, depending on the circumstances. But as AI takes over legal tech, it is helping companies overcome various challenges related to contract management.
One of the biggest challenges that an in-house counsel faces is the process of contract creation, execution, and analysis that becomes arduous as its sheer volume increases. Due to a lack of uniformity, contracts become difficult to track, organize, manage, and update. Apart from this, organizations are at a loss of a database of all the information in their contracts, including an efficient way to extract data from the pile.
How AI can help in solving these issues is very interesting to observe. The AI-enabled software can easily extract data and clarify the content of the contracts. For eg: it can pull out or organize renewal dates or renegotiation terms from n number of contracts. This allows the legal team to review contracts more rapidly, organize and locate large amounts of contract data efficiently while diminishing the potential for contract disputes and increase the volume of contracts they are able to negotiate and execute. Apart from streamlining the contract development process, AI will also help in contract management where it will make the data extraction painless for legacy contracts and provide faster and better insights into contractual data.