24 February 2022

7 digital transformation tools for legal teams in 2022

Insights Resources

What is digital transformation (DX)? Digital transformation is a strategy of enabling legal teams to optimise their work productivity by incorporating digital technologies into their operational processes and client interactions.

The time for legal teams to understand and plan for DX is now, as a recent study revealed that a significant number of Australian lawyers are prepared to leave their law firms for an employer that is more innovative.

Don’t know where to start? Here are the 7 Digital Transformation Tools for Legal Teams in 2022:

1. Client – Firm Collaboration Tool

The Cambridge Dictionary states collaboration is ‘the act of working together with other people or organisations to create or achieve something’.

A collaboration tool assists seamless communication between in-house counsel and their law firms. Collaboration workspaces allow for invoice and budget updates, sharing files, completed documents, status updates, messages and more. Tools that are specifically designed for the legal function also include the ability to control and manage the access to confidential information by client, matter, team, or user.

Open channels of communication provide a shared understanding of instructions, scope of work and budget, as well as real-time transfer and collaboration of information. Utilising digital tools such as these will enhance and solidify the relationship between in-house legal teams and their firms.

2. Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is utilising a 3rdparty service provider to store your company data in their virtual data centre as opposed to using an on-premise server. There are several benefits to organisations who store in the cloud including greater scalability, cost savings in hardware and IT, reliability, access, and security. In the modern ‘working from home’ (WFH) environment, employees can access data from anywhere, this encourages easy file sharing, real-time collaboration, and better version control. It may also enable compliance with the Australian Privacy Act 1988 (CTH) as leading cloud providers can include built-in privacy and security features as standard.

Consideration should be given in relation to public (or multi-tenant) vs private vs hybrid cloud storage. Public or multi-tenant cloud is shared by multiple organisations, but every organisation has its own space in the shared cloud. Private cloud is dedicated solely to your organisation, and hybrid is a mixture of both. Think of public cloud like renting an apartment and private as owning your own home. It may cost more but it is all yours.

Whilst not necessarily a digital tool in its own right, cloud storage is the fundamental digital infrastructure that will enable the implementation of agile and modern ways of working.

3. Centralised Legal Intake & Triage

At Lawcadia, one of the common pain points we hear from our clients is frustration and inefficiencies arising from multiple handling of tasks by manual intake processes. Visibility is non-existent when the details are in an excel document, outlook email or on a piece of paper. To be able to process a new legal matter efficiently, a legal intake and triage platform will allow for greater transparency and the ability to track the entire matter life cycle.

Benefits of intake and triage platforms:

  • Accessible for your entire team
  • Customisable and configurable intake workflows for each work type
  • Receive the right instructions, first time, every time
  • Triage incoming legal requests to the right person
  • Ability to allocate matters across the team (both internally and externally)
  • Automation of aspects of the intake, triage, communication, and document generation
  • Alleviate extra workload by stopping certain requests, questions and work coming to the legal team by using self-service capabilities
  • Keep track of legal requests, team capacity and matter progress
  • Eliminate duplication, unnecessary emails, and admin tasks

4. Document Automation

Document automation can save time and improve client service delivery. When deployed as a self-service model, document automation allows for the streamline of processes and frees up the legal team’s time taking them away from low complexity, routine tasks. With some more complex agreements taking up to two hours to prepare, adding document automation to a legal department’s tool kit means a more streamlined experience for internal clients as well as in-house lawyers.

Popular uses of document automation include:

  • NDA, confidentiality, and routine agreements made available to clients via self-service
  • Automated drafts of complex documents send to the legal team for review and approval
  • Automated draft documents to be shared with external providers to review and finalise
  • Automated generation of court documents and letters
  • Risk and compliance checklists with completion approvals
  • Emails and approval notifications can also be automated

5. eSignature

An eSignature or electronic signature is a quick, cost-effective, and efficient way to get consent or approval on legal forms and electronic documents. In Australia, eSignatures are legally valid, enforceable, and admissible as traditional ‘wet’ signatures if they meet three conditions:

  1. Identify the signatory and indicate their intention to sign the relevant document or transaction.
  2. Be either as reliable as appropriate for the purpose of the transaction or document to be signed; or proven in fact, either by itself or in conjunction with other evidence, to identify the signatory and their intention to sign the relevant document or transaction.
  3. Show that the person to whom the signature is provided consents to the method of signing used.

The incorporation of eSignature capabilities into your document automation system will allow for quicker turnover of tasks requiring form signatures. There are several technology leaders in this space including Adobe, DocuSign & HelloSign.

6. Legal Research Platforms

According to the Thomson Reuters’ Tech & the Law 2022 report – 54% of in-house legal and private practice professionals spend more than 30 minutes per day on legal research. Research is a routine task that legal professionals undertake to serve clients in the day-to-day. Conducting legal research is also an activity that can be optimised with the use of technology. Spending less time on legal research by leveraging technology is an example of creating a more efficient practice that empowers legal departments to focus on value-adding activities such as providing more strategic business advice and navigating the risk and compliance landscape.

Some specific search tools such as the Gadens Breach Manager for the financial services and insurance sector, benefit organisations by offering both search facilities and a breach reporting tool. This unique multi-sided platform utilises intelligent workflow automation to help manage the depth and breadth of mandatory breach reporting obligations as well as the ability to search each section of the legislation.

7. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the term for the intelligence demonstrated by machines. To be successful, copious amounts of data is required to be able to mimic human-like problem-solving and decision-making capabilities. While at the forefront of technological advancement, current AI capability allows for a document to be reviewed quickly with the flagging of variations and changes in the document.

In this University of New South Wales Law Research Series paper, while AI may remove the need for human lawyers to undertake some steps in the lawyering process, whether that be litigation, transactions or advice, AI will not replace lawyers wholesale. Indeed, AI will enhance what lawyers can do, both by creating process efficiencies, and by increasing the relative value of exclusively ‘human’ skills.

Conclusion

Digital transformation, within a considered and strategic framework, will allow for increased efficiencies, greater communication, automation of repetitive tasks, increased security of data, accessibility for all staff and overall cost savings to the organisation. Organisations that embrace new technologies stay ahead of the curve, retain their skilled staff, and sustain a competitive advantage.

“The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.” Bill Gates, Co-Founder Microsoft.

Intelligent matter intake & workflow.

Want to receive the right instructions first time, every time? Lawcadia provides intelligent, streamlined and automated workflow between your internal clients, in-house legal department, and even your external law firms.

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