The Legal Space Race: How Digital Strategy is Reshaping the Industry

The Legal Space Race: How Digital Strategy is Reshaping the Industry

Written By
Cedrick Cabaluna
Updated on
July 12, 2024
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minutes

Digital transformation and digital strategy are terms that have been thrown around a lot lately, but what do they really mean? 

In essence, they refer to the process of using digital technologies to fundamentally change how organisations operate and deliver value. It is about more than just adopting new tools—it is about rethinking business models, optimising outdated processes, and creating new opportunities for growth.

As recent history has shown, a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic can be a catalyst for this kind of transformation. Organisations worldwide were forced to rapidly adopt digital solutions to maintain operations during lockdowns and disruptions. While initially seen as a means of survival, these efforts opened eyes to the untapped potential of digital technologies, not just for weathering storms but for thriving in the long term.

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The Big Bang of Legal Tech: Digital Transformation

Today, digital transformation is no longer optional. The breakneck speed at which the legal landscape is evolving has made digital transformation an essential survival tool for legal professionals. The constant pressure to deliver legal services faster, more efficiently, and at a lower cost experienced by corporate legal departments has necessitated the advent of this newly coined phenomenon. Digital transformation empowers them to streamline workflows, automate repetitive tasks, and gain valuable insights from data to make more informed decisions. 

This urgency to adopt a more digital-inclined strategy is fueled by a confluence of factors: 

  • Evolving client expectations. Clients are becoming more accustomed to the efficiencies and conveniences offered by digital technologies in other areas of their lives, expecting the same level of service from their legal providers. This shift necessitates that law firms and legal departments adopt digital tools and strategies to meet these new demands.
  • Improving LegalTech solutions. Innovations such as AI-powered contract analysis, automated document review, and digital signature platforms offer significant advantages over traditional methods. These technologies enhance the speed and accuracy of legal tasks, allowing legal professionals to focus on more strategic and high-value activities, essential for staying competitive and delivering superior client services.
  • Increasing regulatory pressures. Compliance with the ever-expanding number of new governmental regulations requires meticulous tracking and management of legal documents and processes. Digital solutions provide the necessary tools to reduce the risk of errors and facilitate easier audits. By automating low-risk routinary tasks, organisations are able to manage regulatory requirements more effectively and avoid costly penalties.
  • Growing volume of contracts. The exponential surge in contractual agreements has overwhelmed traditional management methods, rendering them unsustainable. Digital contract management systems offer centralised repositories, real-time tracking, and efficient workflows. This ensures all stakeholders have access to the most up-to-date information, fostering collaboration and reducing the likelihood of errors or missed deadlines.

This amalgamation of factors provided the fertile ground for the first seeds of emerging digital trends. The antiquated ways are ready for a revamp and are now ripe for automation and optimisation.

New Horizons: A New Area of Expertise

The legal world is changing rapidly. To keep up, a new kind of legal professional is emerging—one who blends legal knowledge with tech skills, data analysis, and a knack for innovation.

These new legal professionals understand that law is not just about courtrooms anymore. It is about using technology to make legal work easier, faster, and more accessible for everyone.

The legal professionals who embrace this change are the ones who will lead the industry into the future. They will create new solutions, make things more efficient, and provide more value to their clients.

This is the big leap the legal industry needs to stay relevant in today's world. It is a call to action for legal professionals to learn new skills, get comfortable with technology, and become the leaders of tomorrow.

The First Baby Steps To A Digital Quantum Leap

Transforming legal departments is not an easy feat. Surveys of legal executives and operations professionals reveal common obstacles, such as securing adequate funding and demonstrating a clear return on investment. These challenges can hinder the realisation of the full value of transformation efforts.

However, change is possible with the right mindset, by embracing a proactive approach and believing in the potential for transformation.

To achieve successful transformation, legal departments can set clear objectives, such as:

  • Aligning with overall business strategy
  • Reducing the time it takes to process business requests through technology (e.g., automated agreements, streamlined workflows)
  • Empowering the legal team with user-friendly, integrated technology
  • Offloading routine, low-value tasks from lawyers
  • Providing timely responses to business and sales teams
  • Optimising resources and outsourcing to allow in-house lawyers to focus on strategic work
  • Upskilling team members to handle tasks that cannot be automated
  • Offering career development opportunities for lawyers
  • Reducing overall costs year after year
  • Strategic Sourcing and Service Delivery

It’s Not Rocket Science: How To Implement A Digital Strategy

Legal departments can adopt a service delivery framework that assesses tasks based on value and complexity:

  • Less complex matters may be outsourced to third-party providers at a lower cost.
  • Highly standardised, low-risk activities may be automated, using current or new technology solutions.
  • Complex matters may be outsourced with significant internal oversight.

This strategic approach improves efficiency and frees up legal professionals to focus on complex problem-solving, innovation, and building stronger relationships within the business.

Furthermore, transformation often necessitates changes in team structure and roles. Leaders may transition to new positions, and external hires may be needed to fill specific expertise gaps. The ideal legal team might include:

  • A lean in-house legal team
  • A reliable technology partner
  • A managed services provider with flexible resources and language/time zone support
  • Specialised law firms that can adapt to your technology and service providers
  • A consultant to integrate and manage all of the above.

Lexagle: Your Partner In Stellar Performance

Change is constant, and legal departments can leverage it to their advantage. By embracing transformation and adopting a service-oriented approach, chief legal officers (CLOs) can address common challenges such as budget cuts and performance evaluations.

Incorporating new capabilities like technology, data analytics, or project management into the legal team can drive this transformation. Additionally, exploring alternative resources for tasks not requiring lawyer expertise can lead to cost savings.

Analysing the frequency, requesters, drafters, and turnaround time of different contract types is key to identifying areas for improvement. Many businesses heavily rely on a few standard contracts, leading to time-consuming modifications and delays. Streamlining this process can significantly boost revenue generation, as delays equate to increased costs.

One such streamlining feature that clients love about Lexagle is the built-in contract workrooms. These workrooms track every exchange and decision, ensuring clarity and continuity. You will always know who made which decision, an invaluable feature when dealing with employee turnover and onboarding new team members who need to catch up on ongoing negotiations.

Embark on a journey to legal efficiency with Lexagle. Book a demo today and discover how our innovative contract management software can propel your legal team to new frontiers.

The Legal Space Race: How Digital Strategy is Reshaping the Industry
Author
Cedrick Cabaluna
Cedrick is the Marketing Specialist at Lexagle. As a published law journal author, international mooter, and certified legal apprentice, he combines his legal expertise and passion for communication in creating content that resonates with businesses. His background in trademarks, startups, arbitration, and digital transformation helps him simplify complex concepts into practical insights. Enthusiastic about contract management and legtech, he enjoys assisting firms in workflow optimisation.

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