Corporate legal departments are in a somewhat unique position in that they don’t necessarily handle every matter in-house. In fact, it is routine for legal departments to rely on outside counsel and tertiary vendors to handle as much as 50% of the normal workload. But that appears to be changing. Corporate legal departments are bringing more tasks back home.
As in-house spending increases and workloads get heavier, corporate attorneys are having to rethink how they do things. Their jobs are made easier when their employers provide the right technology – including a modern, state-of-the-art legal case management app.
Bringing Work Back Home
Altman Weil’s annual Chief Legal Officer (CLO) survey gives the legal profession a snapshot of what is happening in corporate law departments across America. The 2018 survey reveals some surprising numbers about outsourced versus in-house work. For example, the survey indicated that 42% of CLOs had plans to bring on more lawyers within the next 12 months. The reason? To handle increased workload.
The survey also revealed that, for the first time ever, in-house spend in corporate legal departments represented the single largest portion of the budget, with an average of 48% of the money going to in-house activities. In addition, some 32% of corporate legal departments decreased spending on outside law firms while 42% increased their outside spend.
In a nutshell, the survey shows that corporate legal departments are changing. Workloads are increasing, more work is being brought back home, and CLOs are looking to add to their staffs through increased hiring.
Technology Makes for More Efficiency
Managing workload is a normal part of the CLO’s job description. To be sure, addressing higher workloads merely through hiring alone is not the wisest course of action. It is better to combine increased hiring with new technology that makes the office more efficient and productive. That is where legal case management software comes into play.
While corporate legal departments have been slowly evolving to account for changes in how law is practiced, the rest of the world has been pushing forward in the technology arena. From cloud-based apps to secure communication platforms, technology has revolutionized just about every sector of the U.S. economy. It is finally making its way to corporate law.
The balancing act for CLOs is to find ways to adopt new technology without disrupting all of the other departments within the company. In the case of finding a new legal case management app, it’s a matter of finding something that will play well with the rest of the company software.
Case Management in the Cloud
The best way to go these days is with a cloud-based app. A good app is more than adequate for addressing basics like document preparation and calendaring. However, it doesn’t stop there. A good app increases efficiency with artificial intelligence capabilities, deep learning capabilities, and built-in libraries for storing documents and research information. A good app can collect, organize, track, and audit information in line with software from the billing department, the budget office, and so forth.
Cloud applications are ideal for these sorts of things. By their nature, cloud apps are designed to integrate with other apps within the same ecosystem. The cloud structure gives access to information in real time, to every individual and department that needs it.
Technology is the key to corporate legal departments modernizing. It is the key to helping CLOs looking to bring more work back home so as to rely less on outside counsel and tertiary support. Without technology, the beleaguered CLO has only additional hiring to rely on as workloads get heavier.