It is no secret that digitisation can help maximize legal operations. The right software can help legal departments innovate and boost efficiency by centralising information, automating standard processes, and enabling quick access to insights. All of which can make Legal an integral strategic division to drive company growth.

However, selecting the right software for you legal department is no easy task. Here are five simple, yet important, questions any Legal Counsel must pose when considering software to optimise legal operations.

Can I customise or extend the software as my legal operations mature?

Many businesses base their purchase decisions on trying to solve the current problem at hand, disregarding the complexities that may arise in the future as the company grows. The size of your legal department, staffing, the budget, priorities and objectives are unique to your business thereby understanding that the technology you choose must be align to your unique needs today, and into the future.

As your legal operations mature, it is important to have a solution that supports your growth across competencies. Otherwise, you may end up with systems that disrupt or stall your growth.

For example, for small legal departments with a focus on document management, technology must be able to extend to manage different types of legal matters like contracts, entities or claims, or to build custom dashboards or reports as required by the business.

Does the software boost collaboration?

Legal departments can be slow to adopt new technology. Therefore, the software you choose must be have a user-friendly interface so that it is easier to train staff to use it. A simple software that is easy to understand and operate can empower and motivate your team.

In addition, your software should improve collaboration between Legal and other departments. Your collaborators in different departments must be able to use the system easily, be it to access templates, upload contracts or retrieve information. Not only does this eliminate bottlenecks and allow Legal to stay in control, but also improves risk awareness across the business.

Will the software save me time?

Legal Counsel spend half of their time on admin tasks like filing, searching for documents and sending emails. Therefore, the software you implement should help you reduce the time you waste and give you more time to dedicate on more strategic matters.

To accomplish this, information needs to be centralised in a single software so that otherwise time-consuming tasks like searching for contracts or running standard reports can be done in seconds. Furthermore, you should be able to standardise processes for routine tasks and to keep track of deadlines. This allows you to be an efficient project manager and increase your department’s productivity even as your workload increases.

Does the software provide me with accurate, actionable insights?

Technology must empower legal departments to generate precise reports on legal matters like contracts or claims, corporate housekeeping or support during due diligence or audits. For example, if you cannot quickly report on contract deadlines or obligations across entities, you cannot be effective in your role.

What’s more, reporting and monitoring features can help you get a clear overview of everything, and that allows you to get a grip over potential risks and develop proactive strategies to protect and grow your business.

Effective reporting and monitoring gives you control over your legal department and lets you evaluate the impact of your division’s input to the business.

Does the investment align with my objectives and budget?

Legal departments have set goals and budgets. Your investment in technology must reflect that. While the software you choose must help you achieve targets, the cost of the software must be within your allocated budget.

Most often you will come across software with excess features which your legal department will not need and they will cost more by default. For example, if your legal department is small you probably do not need an integrated workflow management system with many bells and whistles.

Therefore, you must identify your needs and choose a software which goes in line with them while having a clear idea of how much you will spend on it.  

It is important to address these key questions in order to finalise your investment in a software that optimises your legal operations while allowing you to manage your costs, improve efficiency and productivity, and achieve your goals and most importantly helping you to grow.

To assist you in taking action, download our free Legal Operations white paper that provides an overview of the main types of technology so that you can benchmark your needs and identify the type of tools you need to operate more strategically.