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The year is 2022, and advanced legal software is no longer a luxury for corporate legal departments; it’s now a necessity. Even with legal departments prioritizing cost control, multiple surveys still predict that legal ops technology budgets will triple by 2025. Additionally, artificial intelligence (AI) software use in the legal industry is expected to grow by over 28% by 2026.The emergence of COVID-19 pandemic emphasized this need for comprehensive legal technology even more. The crisis pushed corporate legal teams to the brink, particularly ones that only had manual spreadsheets and legacy tools to rely on. This resulted in a rapid and complete paradigm shift, where the benefits of bringing on AI and legal technology outweighed the initial cost.With so many varying, complex responsibilities, there’s no one-size- fits-all tech solution for different in-house legal teams. To figure out what kind of digital tool will give your unique team the best ROI, let’s look at the different ways AI and legal technology can save you time and money across these five key areas:
It can be difficult and cumbersome to effectively analyze legal spend and demonstrate the value of legal ops when using spreadsheets or legacy software. These tools quite often have incorrect or incomplete information because you need to enter data manually. This invariably impacts the quality of your spend analysis. It also takes much longer to compile data and design reports out of them. Again, just trying to find patterns across hundreds or thousands of legal spend data points is mentally draining.When you use a legal spend management platform like Beveron’s Smart Legal Counsel, for instance, it automatically ensures that you have all the financial information you need in one central location. It pulls spend data from multiple sources into the software and updates in real time. You can be confident that the information you’re bringing to your senior management is accurate right down to the last dime.
Generally speaking, contract reviews take hours to complete manually, which takes in-house counsel away from more strategic work. Additionally, poor contract management processes make it more difficult for attorneys to identify and proactively respond to risks. Usually any Contract lifecycle management software comes with templates so you don’t have to draft fresh contracts from scratch. This consistent format reduces the risk of errors and speeds up the drafting process. Additionally, you can also set automatic alerts to remind you of approaching deadlines so you can stay on top of fulfilling your organization’s contract obligations on time.
Without a centralized legal document management system (DMS), corporate legal departments often have to spend more time tracking down files. And once they finally manage to locate them, they still have to confirm if they’re the most current versions. These are extremely frustrating issues, especially when you’re on a tight deadline or working remotely.A good DMS functions as a searchable, cloud-based storage center. Besides searching text documents to find what you need, some new technologies even use optical character recognition to pull out text from images and PDFs. Legal departments usually receive thousands of scanned files, so ensuring they don’t get left out of the search function is a huge time-saving asset. Using a legal DMS also gives you peace of mind because you know your documents are secure. Thanks to encryption and stringent control over user access permissions, you can rest assured that sensitive client information is well protected and won’t get accidentally shared. You don’t get that type of security with a wall- mounted filing cabinet!.
Automating the management of invoice disputes and deductions can help immensely with faster resolution of each dispute, right from the time it is logged into the system, by ensuring that all the information pertaining to a dispute is stored in a central location and that everyone involved in the dispute resolution process has instant access to that information and is on the same page at all times.Using smart and intuitive features like automated data collection, real-time tracking of information, online discussions and access to a dispute management dashboard, the automated system eliminates any possible friction in the process, making the entire dispute resolution process smooth, seamless, transparent and easy on both the customer and the business.Here it’s important to understand that broad solutions like ERPs and CRMs might NOT hold the answers to automation. For automating dispute management, what one needs is a specific scalpel, not a generic Swiss knife. Automating the management of disputes and deductions helps accelerate cash flow and ensures a good customer experience. This would also mean augmenting your existing legacy solutions (even if they are scores of excel sheets) with something more specific to identifying and resolving disputes.
In 2020 when Covid struck us, most corporates spanning every industry and geography quickly realized that the processes they were relying on to manage disruptive risks were outdated. A major hurdle they faced was the over-reliance on point-in-time assessments for monitoring risk. In the rapidly evolving risk landscape, the data collected quickly became stale, and as a consequence, the static nature of this process created significant blind spots. Instead, it dawned upon organizations that effective risk mitigation required continuous monitoring and ongoing risk intelligence. Now, organizations everywhere are looking for a better way and want automation solutions and not humans to monitor and manage risk continuously. Where risk is concerned, Big Data and automation can be tremendous catalysts to accelerate significant advancements in risk management by enabling companies to continuously monitor risk at scale both cost-effectively and efficiently.
Today, companies can leverage robotic process automation (RPA) tools for data collection. In addition, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can perform sentiment analysis to determine whether the profiled data is good or bad news as well as Impact Analysis to determine the potential impact to the organization — low, medium or requires immediate attention. Along with legacy statistical models, these latest technologies can constantly improve the accuracy of risk detection, confirmation and prediction, enabling an almost 360º visibility into an organization's true risk exposure than ever before. By incorporating automation at this stage, human resources are freed from spending countless hours gathering and validating just a tiny fraction of the data that AI can handle.
Whatever goal you’re trying to achieve in your legal department, using AI-based or automated legal technology will increase your in- house team’s overall productivity. By extension, you can gradually start to decrease your reliance on outside counsel, even if you can’t hire extra employees. This is an extremely important cost-saving benefit, as many external counsel / law firms usually raise their rates by at least 5 to 10% every year.