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Legal Operations is a fairly recent addition to the legal industry, and, as a department tasked with managing and streamlining the efforts of in-house counsel, they have their work cut out for them. Although there are many options for Legal Operations, in this article we will focus on the 4 most effective tools to help in-house legal departments. Keep in mind, these solutions may vary from business to business, but this list generally addresses all in-house legal department needs.
In an effort to cut costs and operate at peak efficiency, e-billing has always been an effective tool for in-house legal professionals. As businesses scale, the risk of excessive overbilling is great. Managing and configuring using an effective spend management tool can help monitor activity to make sure you’re not overpaying and can have the effect of instant cost saving.
Adapting to an e-Billing software tool also seems to be a common first step towards a data-driven approach to business as it collects a ton of useful information that helps legal departments further understand their efforts. Newer e-Billing tools can extract and analyze data within these invoices and deliver detailed reports that would otherwise take many hours to procure and organize. This data can help an in-house legal department analyze hourly rates, legal spend, general law firm efficiency, budget compliance, progress against monthly accruals, and other important data to help you understand where other improvement efforts must be focused.
This tool seems like an obvious addition to any legal department as the high amount of documents that come in on a daily basis definitely need a management tool. However, a cloud-based document management tool can help indexing and security efforts as well. You can find solutions that integrate with email, use tagging and metadata, and even utilize mobile access. Like all organizational tools, however, it’s crucial to understand and agree upon a system for implementation and structure. Being able to find the right document for your needs depends on both the means to search and the organizational methods used.
Much like document management, contract management goals are similar. Any legal department knows the need for contract organization with an effective software tool. Without this, costly mistakes are likely.
Depending on your specific needs, contract management is a malleable tool; providing a repository or a queuing system. If you are planning on using your contract management tool to help with getting contracts processed faster, it might behoove you to combine this with an e-signature tool as well.
Keeping track of tasks is a crucial effort since Legal teams generally work with other departments directly, contributing to a company overall. It can be difficult to keep track of especially complex projects, especially if meetings are few and far between. So, utilizing a task management software can help a projects’ momentum with deadlines, and assignees. Like all of these suggestions, though, implementation is key; if a team doesn’t keep track within the same system, progress can go by the wayside.