The spookiest things your legal department can hear heading into 2024 (unless you come prepared)
7 chilling questions and statements that could throw your legal department off its game this October – and well into the new year – if you don’t lay the groundwork now.
“We’re being audited / investigated / sued”
As soon as your company catches wind of an impending investigation or potential litigation, it has an obligation to notify all employees or stakeholders of their responsibility to preserve relevant data, documents, cases, and records. Doing so in a timely manner (and thus preventing any destruction or modification of evidence) could be the difference in your case outcome.
Notifying all employees and stakeholders typically involves issuing a litigation hold notice, or a temporary suspension of an organization’s electronic or paper document destruction policies pertaining to any documents that may be relevant to a new or impending legal case. When done manually, this can be costly, time consuming, and expose your organization to inconsistencies that later lead to risk. How can you ensure your notice (and the employee attestation of having received that notice) is defensible and trackable? How do you keep up with the needed reminders and documentation?
The answer is to have an automated, streamlined legal hold system in place that:
- Transforms labor-intensive, manually-managed spreadsheets into digital assets, preserved in a centralized database that is easily accessible for discovery
Automatically ceases disposal of relevant data upon pending litigation
Enables automatic tracking of legal hold status and custodian engagement
Makes results instantly reportable for immediate, reliable compliance insights
Need a better answer to the audit/litigation question before 2024? Our team is here to help.
“We found an error”
We likely don’t need to remind you that errors are costly — but in the spirit of the season, we will anyway. Remember JPMorgan Chase’s “London Whale” incident, due in part to spreadsheet errors? That’s an over $6 Billion loss, and they’re still working on righting the reputational impact.
Factor in that nearly 9 out of 10 spreadsheets (88%) contain errors, and it’s likely you’ll run into this concern at one point or another in your career. Unless you are proactive about reducing the manual influence on your data for better consistency, reliability, and accuracy, that is.
A workflow automation solution can help you eliminate human error altogether. You define the flow of logic that will drive each stage to its next action, but intelligent routing technology executes on the details like timely delivery, accurate version control, and activity tracking. Every time. And with a solution that is no-code, you can configure your workflow with real-time collaboration, conditional routing, and integrations to your existing ecosystem (all without a single line of code) to optimize even complex processes without ever calling in IT.
“I can’t find that signed contract / where is that contract”
*gulp* Is that file on your shared drive, in an email, or in a company folder? Wait, is it version “1.1” or “1.1w/edits”?
We’ve all felt the frustration (and panic) of not having access to the information we need, when we need it — and we’ve already proven that the fallout of making an error can be costly. What you need is one centralized repository for all of your data and documents, complete with robust version control and configurable permissions to keep your proprietary data secure.
Look for technology that helps you create a single source of organizational truth, like a matter management system that can convert matters and tasks into actionable reports and dashboards that keep your department leaders informed.
“The board/ELT is concerned about the legal department’s efficiency”
You’ve heard the phrase “do more with less,” but is the goal to actually do more work, or is it to achieve more with strategic investment of your time and resources?
Once again, workflow automation enters the equation here to help you streamline high-volume, repetitive tasks — but it can only take you so far. When every minute counts towards meeting quarterly and annual targets, only the teams who can effectively quantify, measure, and report on their results will be considered strategic business partners. In other words, you need to be improving your processes and collecting the analytics and reports that demonstrate ROI, highlight future areas of improvement, and inform strategic decision-making.
For example: Do you have the right data to show workload volume and inform allocation? Do you know how long standard processes (like NDAs, vendor and sales agreements, and conflict waivers) typically take you and how much time you could be saving? Do you have enough visibility to identify bottlenecks (and the resources to eliminate them)?
“There’s a new regulation starting soon that’s going to impact the legal department”
From labor codes and workplace safety regulations to cyber security reporting requirements, it feels like a new regulation or update pops up every day. And any one of them could have an impact on your policy management strategy at any time. Similar to an audit or litigation, without a centralized location that stores all of the evidence needed to prove your compliance from day one, it can be difficult to validate in court.
When it comes to staying up to date and compliant with regulations that impact your department, it helps to have a bird’s eye view and workflows in place to ensure that the right policies are being implemented, updated, and properly stored.
“We need to reevaluate/ cut our legal department spending immediately”
OK – but where do we start? Going back over invoice and line-item data manually is one option (that nobody has time for). Or, having the right spend management & analytics platform in place can help you:
- Enforce budgets with alerts and reminders — whether by time period, phase, or task
- Monitor them via a centralized, configurable portal, enabling you to reduce vendor inquiries, mitigate budget overruns, and drive compliance
- Access metrics to help you deliver accurate forecasting and best-in-class value
- Capture even nuanced, non-compliant invoice line items, giving you the full picture of your legal spend
- Save time on the invoice review process
“Someone has violated a policy”
If someone in your organization is found in noncompliance, it can be a long, drawn-out process to prove you were not at fault — unless they signed and attested that they had read your company policies and were responsible for upholding them, that is.
But as we already touched on: drafting, distributing, and capturing attestation can be costly and time-consuming using traditional means. And when policies have to be revised quickly, for widespread workforces? Manual processes are obsolete. The answer is policy management automation, replacing inefficiency and delay with precision, agility, and speed.
More resources for your corporate legal department:
- Navigating Modern Enterprise Legal Management (ELM): 5 Must-Have Capabilities
- Ramping Up Your Legal Operations Team: Your Plan, Process, and Technology Checklist
- The ROI of Legal Hold Software (And the Risks of Not Having It)
- No-Code Vs. Low-Code Automation: How to Spot the Difference
- Legal Hold 101: Transforming a Confusing Requirement into a Streamlined Process