Soaring volumes of risks, data, and matters are challenging the way in-house legal teams operate. Legal costs have ballooned, and the ongoing pandemic has only exacerbated the challenges.
To adapt, legal departments have increasingly embraced an operations-oriented approach to addressing their workloads. Companies are hiring legal operations (legal ops) professionals to balance cutting costs with mitigating risk, all while driving efficiencies. Legal ops offers strategic planning, financial and project management, and tech know-how that enables the rest of the department to focus on their core areas of expertise.
Even if your organization doesn’t have dedicated legal ops specialists, every corporate legal team can benefit from adopting core legal ops concepts and practices. Here are some of the operational challenges legal departments are facing and how ediscovery software can help.
Challenges Facing In-house Legal Teams
The ever-changing legal landscape challenges every organization in unique ways. While no legal department’s transformation journey is exactly the same, there are some common trends:
- Big Data: There was 470 times more data in 2020 than in 2005—and it’s expected to quadruple again by 2025. Access to the right data is crucial for success, but processing the massive quantities of information and gleaning useful insights can be challenging.
- Growing Cyber Threats: Organizations around the world are facing increased threats as nation-state hackers and cyber bad actors grow increasingly sophisticated with their attacks. For example, the SolarWinds data breach impacted 425 of Fortune 500 companies, all top 10 telecoms firms, and the big four accounting firms.
- Data Privacy: Regulations including California’s CPRA and CCPA and the EU’s GDPR and DSA continue to elevate privacy as a key issue for organizations everywhere and are reminders that the landscape is evolving quickly.
- Corporate Investigations: 92 percent of fraud examiners expect an increase in fraud this year. Moreover, sexual harassment claims are expected to be a top litigation trend amid increased social awareness of the issue.
- Budget Pressure: While 84 percent of legal teams are anticipating increased demand, 52 percent are cutting costs.
In response, many in-house legal teams are turning to legal ops-focused solutions. The increased focus on doing less with more has also led to greater consideration of how technology can help.
Solving Legal Operations Challenges with Ediscovery
The role of ediscovery software has expanded to address these challenges. While ediscovery once primarily supported litigation, it is now also used in areas like information governance, document retention and defensible deletion, data-privacy compliance, regulatory responses, and corporate investigations. Ediscovery technology can also support the four primary value propositions of legal ops:
- Cross-Functional Alignment: Legal departments are often siloed from the rest of the organization. According to Deloitte’s 2020 Legal Operations Survey, 77 percent of respondents said their legal systems were not integrated to allow for visibility into workflows and real-time data. Ediscovery technology, in concert with organization-wide information governance standards, can help bridge the divide. It can also help streamline and automate tasks for other departments like IT and HR.
- Data Analytics: In the Deloitte survey, 74 percent of respondents felt they didn’t have clear and accurate metrics on the work performed by internal and external resources. Ediscovery technology, combined with measurement best practices, can help your in-house legal team better analyze data.
- Technology Utilization: Legal teams are also facing increased litigation due to the pandemic, at a time when 77 percent of legal departments say their team members spend a significant amount of time on manual tasks. Automating these manual tasks through ediscovery software frees your people to focus on more meaningful work, and it can scale rapidly to account for spikes in litigation.
- Optimize Resource Utilization: Corporate legal teams dealing with tightened budgets can use ediscovery technology to internalize and automate expensive data-processing and review tasks. Subscription-based ediscovery solutions also make these costs more stable and predictable.
The pace of digital transformation will only increase. Corporate legal departments must evolve if they want to continue effectively minimizing risk for their corporations. Legal ops brings clear value to the table, but fully realizing this value may depend on equipping your team with the right tools and resources. Ediscovery software can be a smart way to do more with less, better integrate with other departments, and achieve your legal department’s goals—now and in the future.
To learn more, read our white paper “Ediscovery’s Role in Driving Legal Ops Success.”