Effects of the Digital Business Transformation on Corporate Legal Departments
The most innovative corporate legal departments are embracing digital business transformation. Today’s legal teams can leverage technology to increase productivity, conserve resources, mitigate risk, all while continuing to deliver value in a highly competitive and constantly evolving business environment. Cloud computing, workflow management systems, and artificial intelligence represent three essential components in any leading-edge technology stack.
3 Digital Business Transformation Tools Aiding Legal Teams
Thomson Reuters and Georgetown Law’s 2021 Report on the State of the Legal Industry found that law has reached its “tipping point” where change is no longer slow and steady but fast and furious. As a result, innovative technologies are proliferating among successful corporate legal departments.
Legal departments that have historically underutilized emerging technology can no longer operate as an insular, self-contained department. Teams must integrate new technologies to help restructure internal resources to maximize efficiency and productivity, overcome labor skill shortages, and dedicate more time to higher-value, strategic tasks.
A 2021 Gartner Report projects that legal departments will have automated 50% of all corporate transactional legal work and increased technology spending threefold on legal technology by 2025. Starting with cloud computing, workflow management, and artificial intelligence, the digital business transformation for corporate legal departments is well underway.
Cloud computing refers to uploading, storing, managing, and maintaining data on the web rather than on an on-site physical device. Cloud computing solutions like software, infrastructure, and digital platforms can scale to align with a legal department’s changing needs, with most charging fees per user or tiered monthly rates.
According to the American Bar Association, 58% of lawyers are using cloud computing today, particularly Dropbox (67%), Microsoft 365 (49%), iCloud (19%), Microsoft Teams (18%), Box (13%), and Evernote (12%)—although legal-specific cloud services like Clio and NetDocuments are rapidly gaining market share.
Once a legal department transfers information on a secure cloud-based platform, attorneys and staff can more efficiently search documents, streamline processes, optimize costs, manage risks, and improve productivity. Anywhere, anytime access is a key advantage of cloud-based solutions, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic shifted much work to remote offices. Legal departments also recognize these services’ low cost of entry, predictable monthly expenses, and their ability to eliminate IT and software management tasks.
A workflow management system provides the infrastructure for establishing, performing, and monitoring defined tasks. This type of solution relies heavily on automation that routes work to appropriate personnel and coordinates activity to prevent resource conflicts. Implementing a workflow management system allows legal departments and procurement teams to automate and streamline day-to-day project management tasks.
Hyperion Global Partners surveyed 249 U.S. and multinational corporate legal departments in 2021, and they found that 51% planned to invest in workflow and process automation over the next two years, with 39% saying they will “invest heavily” in these tools.
Incremental in-house IT steps can bring legal departments closer to automated workflow management, but fully customizable, user-friendly, “next-level” solutions built for legal include Neota Logic, Checkbox, Documate, Josef, Clio, PracticePanther, and Smokeball.
Enforcing consistency through standardization remains the top reason legal departments adopt this type of technology. Teams also appreciate the trackable nature of workflow management systems, which increase accountability, transparency, and trust. Time savings and clean reporting make it easy to justify the value that workflow management provides.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI platforms that leverage AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) can automate and streamline essential work. By applying NLP, these platforms can extract and analyze agreement language to accelerate tasks like contract review. AI-powered solutions can immediately identify clauses and provisions and compare them to legal playbook standards to improve adherence. Additionally, an AI contract review and negotiation solution can analyze contract risk and alert senior reviewers to suggested revisions.
In practice, lawyers upload or email a new contract draft to the platform, and the AI returns a fully redlined and revised version in a matter of minutes—rather than hours or days. The AI provides context-based suggestions for contract clause rewrites aligned with playbook standards, best practices, and analytical predictions.
AI saves legal departments money, closes deals faster, and meets company standards more consistently. Companies who apply the technology become more innovative and adaptable than ever before. Perhaps best of all, AI technology can integrate with current legal department processes to minimize the adoption curve.
The Association of Corporate Counsel selected LexCheck as a Value Champion of 2021. The world’s only true AI-powered contract negotiation platform provides near-instantaneous attorney-quality redlining and revision suggestions for virtually every type of business agreement. Contact us to learn more or request a free demo to experience the technology first-hand.
Gary Sangha | Founder & CEO
Gary Sangha is the Founder and CEO LexCheck. He's a serial entrepreneur and an academic. Gary previously founded Intelligize, a legal technology company that was acquired by LexisNexis. He's affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University and started his career as an attorney at Shearman & Sterling and White & Case.