Journey to the Holy Grail: The Single Source Legal Stack

Kirk Sadler |

Adapting to the “new normal” of technological innovation

Technology has been the biggest driver of changes across industries in the last decade. It has completely disrupted consumption behavior and has created a true ‘buyer’s market’. This has driven businesses to become more and more innovative by leveraging technology to stay competitive. 

Legal professionals are experts in identifying risk and building safety nets to best protect their clients (or their company) from the things that can go wrong. But this position within a company  tends to make them risk averse. The result? Slower adoption of technology and its modern capabilities compared to other corporate functions like sales, marketing, and customer support that have long started reaping the benefits of technology.

Changing expectations bring legal teams to the future

Expectations for the modern day legal department are very different from what they were a decade ago. Legal departments are looking to increase their levels of  active collaboration with business partners, transparency, real-time decision-making, automation—these are no longer just buzzwords but goals that legal teams must meet. 

The only way to get there is by leveraging technology. 

It is unsurprising that Gartner predicts Legal Departments are expected to increase their spending on Legal Technology threefold by 2025

The modern corporate legal department (CLD) prioritizes technology that helps them break silos, drive productivity and increase predictability. Think SAP and Oracle for Finance teams, or Salesforce and Marketo for Sales and Marketing teams, Workday for Human Resources. Not only do those technologies provide a wide range of capabilities, but they are true holistic solutions that enable those teams to collaborate, move fast, stay productive and scale.

Unlike these other verticals, Legal is still developing (and quickly!).  Until now, there has not been an obvious one-stop-shop solution that meets all Legal’s needs. Because the market is saturated with Legal Tech products, leveraging technology effectively demands that legal leaders think big before making even small purchases. Every decision has to be made with the larger legal tech strategy in mind.

Corporate legal needs strategic technology providers to better strategize the future

The good news is the market is filled with Legal Tech products and solutions of various capabilities today.

The bad news is the market is filled with Legal Tech products and solutions of various capabilities. 

With legal technology evolving rapidly, the real hurdle for corporate legal departments is navigating the vast landscape of what tools and systems to use, understanding what delivers on their needs and implementing them effectively to ensure the most return on their investments.  

The market is filled with solutions that help CLDs collaborate better with outside counsel, manage invoices and matters more efficiently, manage Legal Holds, provide granular reporting, not to mention artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing and other cutting edge capabilities.

To plan and purchase strategically, legal leaders need to ask which technologies that help CLDs align with their overall corporate strategy.

Planning the plan

Don’t lose sight of the forest. Think big: think enterprise. 

Think of a technology roadmap as a GPS, a navigation device that guides you step by step to your final destination. It should be simple, but we all know how unexpected traffic can cause headaches and missed exits can be costly. 

So when planning your technology roadmap, don’t just think about your first “destination” but also about your next trip. Technology in the legal industry is evolving at lightning speeds, and when you look for the right systems and features for today, you also must think about the challenges and changes that will come tomorrow—which you cannot plan for in advance. 

Getting to the destination is one thing, but understanding how to think about the journey and the many journeys ahead calls for a future-oriented mindset. The vendors you work with should have a demonstrated track record of investment and innovation, as well as the technical and historical experience to successfully implement and integrate with other systems: both the ones you have today, and the ones you might get in the future. You can’t predict the future, but you can make sure your solutions are future-proofed.

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