For a long time, Excel has helped many legal departments get organized and make sense of their data.

Excel is often the first tool we reach for to compile data, calculate, and share results on a full range of matters, from contract deadlines, claim status, or data to identify risk.

However, once data is plugged into a spreadsheet, we often find ourselves wanting to do more.  Be it in the form of cross-referenced worksheets, automated analysis or workflows, we want Excel to be flexible enough to help us with specific functions unique to our use case. While we try to mold Excel to meet our needs, the result is often a spreadsheet that quickly becomes unmanageable and burdensome.

As Tomasz Tunguz of Redpoint writes in his post “The Unbundling of Excel”:  “After a company reaches a particular scale, teams grow and specialize, collaboration becomes more important, and so does control. This evolution in a company’s needs creates an opportunity for dedicated workflow software to replace former Excel use cases.”

When it comes to managing legal matters, this couldn’t be any more applicable.

Replacing Excel with legal department workflow software

When legal data is scattered across manually updated spreadsheets, it can be extremely difficult to stay on top of legal matters and trust that the data is reliable. By centralizing all of your legal information in database with smart tools that let you collaborate, analyze and report on data, you can solve the burden of managing complicated Excel files while maintaining control.

Here are just a few use cases where dedicated software for legal departments can solve workflow issues:

Providing legal counsel

Any given day, you are asked to provide legal advice on a variety of matters to employees across the entire company. Keeping track of these requests is challenging, especially because you don’t have all of the information you need. Getting that information means taking time away from the task at hand to chase down employees and consult any number of manually updated spreadsheets.

Instead, you can manage your work more effectively with software that allows users to assign and manage tasks. Employees can make their requests to Legal, set deadlines and reference the relevant matter where you can find all of the relevant documents, emails, etc.  And, when all of your legal information is organized in one solution, you have all the information you need at your fingertips.

Drafting legal documents

The legal department is responsible for drafting a variety of legal documents, ensuring they comply with relevant laws and provide value to the business. However, in many cases, it’s just not possible to review every clause on every contract. This presents a conundrum – how can legal stay in control and retain oversight, without necessarily being involved in everything?

Storing all of your legal documents in a central database allows employees to reference files they need and you can provide access to standard contract templates. You can collaborate on documents, track comments and ensure that the latest version is always accessible. Plus, with the ability to set up simple workflows, you can standardize approval processes and maintain an audit trail in case you ever need it.

By digitizing the process of drafting documents, you can collaborate more effectively and empower your whole organisation to be more legally savvy.

Ensuring compliance & reducing risk

In addition to helping the company understand the law and drafting legal documents, General Counsel are being proactive in managing legal risks to protect company and shareholder interests. But to fulfill that role, you need a structured way of collecting the legal data to identify, track and report on those risks.

By streamlining legal matter processes in a single platform, you can minimize your risks and maximize control. With structured workflows, you can monitor compliance deadlines, overdue tasks, and receive alerts for critical events like contract renewals, filing deadlines, and compliance policies. Finally, with all of your legal data in one place, you can easily create reports to track your risks and communicate to management teams – empowering them to act quickly to mitigate risks.

Are you ready to replace Excel with simple but powerful software designed to help you overcome the pain points of keeping your legal information organized, collaborating effectively and retaining control over everything? When you have full oversight over your legal matters, you can assume a more strategic role in your organization. Find out more about how technology can help boost your visibility with the C-suite in our latest ebook “The Changing Role of General Counsel”