In-House Legal Software: Aligning Growing Legal Technology Budgets with Roadmaps | Above

There is no doubt that in-house legal software has dramatically changed the way legal departments conduct their legal business. From the predecessors of corporate legal management more than 40 years ago to today’s AI-based contract lifecycle management systems, technology has done its part to improve efficiency, promote transparency, and capture valuable analysis.

Still, legal operations professionals admitted that their legal departments sometimes struggled in this area. In Gartner’s 2021 Legal Planning and Budgeting Report, legal operations participants cited “technology solutions and level of adoption” as one of the top four weaknesses revealed during COVID-19. The report notes the next two challenges as “knowledge management and coordination” and “effectively balancing routine and unplanned workloads”.

A lot has changed in the short time between yesterday and today. More and more corporate legal departments have evolved their legal operations and turned to adopting or updating in-house legal software.

The proof is in the growing legal technology budgets. Gartner predicts legal technology budgets will triple by 2025.

Adoption of in-house legal software – Technology roadmaps on the rise

How will corporate legal departments allocate these larger legal technology budgets?

Nearly 90% of general counsel and CLOs surveyed in organizations earning $1 billion or more cited efficiency as the number one factor in deciding when to buy technology (far outweighing cost reduction, which was cited by only 8%). This is great news for busy legal professionals who, according to this survey, often find themselves managing more than five distinct practice areas.

But most legal operations teams focus on the big picture. They are proactive in their in-house legal software implementations and plan thoughtful, long-term technology roadmaps.

The Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) was created to help legal operations professionals and other key players in the corporate legal industry optimize the legal service delivery models needed to meet the needs of legal departments of all sizes. One of CLOC’s 12 core competencies relates to technology and specifically addresses technology roadmaps:

“Create a clear technology vision that covers all of your organization’s needs. Automate manual processes, digitize physical tasks, and improve speed and quality with the strategic deployment of technology solutions.

CLOC further describes this process by suggesting that legal operations create and implement long-term technology roadmaps, evaluate new vendors, assess emerging technology capabilities, determine where to buy and when to buy. and structure partnerships with the company’s IT teams.

Align budgets with legal technology roadmaps

Deploying a technology roadmap for in-house legal software is the best way to determine where your organization wants to go in terms of technology and how your budget can align with those goals. Technology roadmaps can accommodate budgets of all sizes, making it easier for legal operations professionals to stay on top of technology implementations, even as technology budgets continue to grow.

Fifty-four percent of respondents to Deloitte’s 2021 State of Legal Operations survey said they now have “a defined and actionable legal systems roadmap.” This number is up from just 39% in 2020. It shows that businesses understand that knowing where you want to go and how you’re going to get there is the only way to improve and grow systematically and intentionally.

Among the most popular technologies that make up these roadmaps, according to CLOC, are solutions that automate and streamline critical workflows, reduce risk, and improve data collection and transparency, including electronic signature tools, electronic invoicing/business management, contract management and document management.

With the vast number of in-house legal software options available on the market today, choosing the right one can seem overwhelming. The benefit of all this innovation, however, is that you can find the right technology solution for almost any budget. A helpful approach is to find an experienced partner who can help you identify recurring problems and wish lists and turn them into a technology roadmap that can be realistically implemented to help your organization.

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