Legal Operations Technology: Pain Points and Solutions

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Legal operations positions have grown more than 75% since 2018, according to Gartner’s 2021 State of the Legal Function report, and for good reason. These crucial roles form the backbone of successful law firms and corporate legal departments, offering support for budgeting, analytics, process improvements, and the acquisition of competitive legal operations technology. 

Legal departments reportedly spend an average of $1.2 million on legal tech annually to maximize resources and reach their full revenue potential. But there’s a problem: They’re often understaffed and overloaded with work—particularly administrative work. Indiscriminately assigning duties to the wrong staff can lead to increased costs, low-quality output, and slow service delivery. But even beyond routing, much of the administrative work can be automated entirely with the right legal operations technology.

The promise of legal tech is to automate and reduce tedious work while adding substantial business value. Yet, tech rollouts aren’t always smooth. As discussed in this article, careful planning and informed investment can alleviate the most common pain points of legal operations technology.

Pain Point 1: Too Many Legal Operations Tools

Contract review technology developed rapidly, leading to a number of decentralized tools appearing on the market. To keep pace, legal teams often jam them together (and not necessarily to the best fit). For instance, template generators, search-friendly repository storage, and intake dashboards are commonly used together for the earliest contracting stages. Office software, document comparison tech, and legal editing tools are utilized for mid-stage review. Finally, contract visibility software, auto-follow-up reminders, and DocuSign are often employed for the final stages. 

According to Deloitte’s State of Legal Operations Survey, 45% of the legal professionals surveyed are using five to ten technologies to support their legal processes, and 30% are using more than ten. Learning the subtleties of each piecemeal tool can be more trouble for busy legal professionals than they’re worth. As one professional in the survey explains, “We have a lot of technology. The challenge is to integrate or eliminate what we don’t need.”  

Solution: To ensure your contracts are reviewed and negotiated properly in the first place, use one solution that can create an AI Digital Playbook and leverage it to redline all drafts with lawyer-quality revisions.

Pain Point 2: Wrong Tools and Lack of Training

Deloitte also found that 46% of legal professionals felt they did not have the right tools to succeed in their roles. Currently, most legal operations technology focuses on eBilling, legal hold and matter management, legal spend analytics, and eDiscovery. Yet, additional support is needed in legal research, information governance, legal training, and contract management.

A whopping 40% said their company continues to invest in “antiquated” or “unused” technologies. More than half of survey respondents (57%) cited lack of adoption and change management as their biggest technology-related concerns. Only one-third of respondents believe their coworkers have “a good technology skill set,” which causes 76% of legal staff members to cling to manual processes that cannot integrate with technology.

Solution: Invest in out-of-box technology that is intuitive and easy to use, such as an AI-enhanced contract review solution that merely requires the reviewer to email the document being reviewed to a dedicated email address and in less than five minutes later a redlined version is returned. It really doesn’t get much easier than that.

Pain Point 3: Poor Execution of Legal Operations Technology

Legal departments often fail to drive organizational change due to poor execution of technology. 71% of surveyed professionals believe establishing better processes would help solve current technology challenges—up 11% from last year’s report. Leadership can support change by developing actionable and defined KPIs, requiring documented use of legal technology to improve accountability, and connecting technology use cases with problem-solving pain points.

The field of law is gradually transitioning from a labor-intensive model that burdens attorneys to a technology-enabled paradigm that frees up employee workloads. But with only 20% of respondents in Deloitte’s survey using tools to automate everyday tasks, there’s much room for improvement. The key to implementing automation on a grander scale lies in addressing the human change management component.

Solution: Change daily processes to support the use of automation technology. Create benchmark metrics that reflect desired productivity outcomes and new goals.

LexCheck: Legal Ops Technology That Makes Sense

LexCheck delivers award-winning legal operations technology for the pre-execution contract review and negotiation cycle. Because legal teams expend an inordinate amount of manual labor exercising due diligence and managing back-and-forth conversations, LexCheck technology can perform the initial redlining and risk evaluation work that’s usually handled by junior-level associates—all in five minutes’ time. 

Using natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI), LexCheck compares newly uploaded contracts to a company’s legal playbook, flags inconsistencies, and inserts contextually-guided revision suggestions to aid in attorney reviews. Suggestions are easily implemented with the click of a button, reducing total time-to-execution by a third. By modernizing outdated workflows and putting the spotlight back on efficiency, LexCheck is an asset to technology-driven legal departments around the world.

LexCheck is the essential contract review solution and a perfect fit for any legal operations technology stack. Schedule your demo today or reach out to sales@lexcheck.com to see the difference it can make.

gary-sanghaGary 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.