The Top Five Habits of Successful Legal Teams (& How to Make Them Second Nature!)
See how today’s top legal teams are leveraging technology to build habits that drive compliance, innovation, and efficiency.
Experts agree that daily habits are the bedrock of success. The wisdom of the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” suggests two things:
- Apples are good for us
- To gain their benefits, eating apples must be repeated consistently over time.
In the legal landscape, efficient operations are what we are after, and productive (daily) habits are how we get there. Unlike the process of eating apples, however, these habits can be augmented by technology.
Success can be written into repetitive, mundane tasks by incorporating technologies that do the heavy lifting, making it easier to form and execute habits that keep your legal team compliant, efficient, and cost-effective. Here are five examples of best practices (and how you can implement technology to streamline them!).
Compliance is both a goal and a habit; while only put to the test every once in a while, legal teams must practice it daily to ensure success.
95% of cybersecurity breaches occur as a result of human error, so one of the best ways to mitigate risk for employees is by automating compliance. Compliance-driving practices become second nature when the technological infrastructure that employees work in is consolidated. For example, by keeping all of your matters in a single matter management system that integrates with your Salesforce and other third-party applications, you reduce the possibility of errors in your data.
By rolling out technology platforms to host and maintain your data in a centralized location, you also are likely to have automated audit trails for your workstreams– meaning that all the documents needed for an internal audit are just a click away.
Keep Your Legal Team Responsive
333.2 billion emails are sent per day, and a recent article revealed that while ~58% of workers expect to get a response, 23% require an immediate response. But those of us who receive hundreds of emails daily or weekly know that this is not always feasible.
Technology can come to the rescue in the face of this email onslaught, making it possible to build fast responses into the requests themselves. For example, by leveraging workflow automation to answer frequently-asked questions and requests automatically, successful legal teams can create one-stop shops for NDAs and eSignature requests that pull in the right data from the requester and automate the flow to signature. Meanwhile, whatever cannot be automatically responded to can be pulled into a stream where escalations are built-in as needed (with time delays) to keep everything moving forward.
Be a Team Player
A patchwork of antiquated technology solutions or multiple vendors forces employees to work in silos, isolated from opportunities to strategize with their peers. Collaboration, on the other hand, encourages employees to synchronize and synergize their strategies and products to get the most out of their work.
New, integrated technology can help drive collaboration by making projects, progress, and goals visible between coworkers (and departments). Even something as simple as a redlining process is improved with more transparency. For example, by introducing a CLM system that highlights roadblocks in a contract and then tags and notifies the appropriate parties, cooperation becomes embedded in the process without any headaches from those involved. Instead of sending one version of a contract through email and receiving follow-ups that stack on top of each other—each with a new attached document— a CLM system keeps your versions controlled and current so that collaboration can improve the contract rather than presenting new opportunities for error.
Successful legal operations teams don’t just maintain their systems and respond to requests; they also notice opportunities for improvement and act on them. But too often, legal teams get hindered by their reliance on IT departments to implement the software solutions they need. To empower your team to leverage their ideas for progress, keep in mind the benefits of no-code platforms that enable members to tackle big projects without IT. Legal team members can become “citizen developers” if they have access to no-code technology platforms on which they can drag and drop their ideas into action. A 2021 Gartner report found that “41% of organizations already use a platform for citizen development, while another 27% expect to use one within the next 12 months.” By bringing citizen development platforms to the business technologists and legal tech specialists on your team, you empower them to bring a DIY attitude not only to their roles but also to the challenges they come against on a day-to-day basis.
Driving Consistency for Your Legal Team
Habits keep us consistent, and consistency builds habits. Embedding these best practices in your processes via technology is a great way to make success second nature for your legal team.
Think about how a single source of truth for your matter management extends outward, not only eliminating errors in your data and preventing duplication, but also providing templates that standardize how you do business— internally and externally. By investing in a platform that has a suite of solutions behind it, you optimize your consistency. And when the opportunity arises to expand your platform or your tech stack, you get to retain the templates and standards from your first platform.
Thinking about your tech solutions as part of the path towards successful habits encourages your legal team to play the long-game, ensuring consistency, efficiency, and optimization.
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