How corporate legal departments navigate through crisis today can help them thrive tomorrow

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has upended traditional corporate legal department operations, forcing them to adapt to what many are calling the ‘new business environment.’ Assessing the severity of COVID-19 and pondering its long-term impact, 62% of legal executives are very or moderately concerned about how major disruptions to day-to-day business demands could affect operations.

This report is intended to provide manufacturing legal departments with a peer perspective on emerging technology trends in 2020, help you understand the changes in the LegalTech ecosystem in the past several years, and help you compare your legal department’s LegalTech approach to that of your peers.

Common themes legal departments face during business disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic

Each corporate legal department addresses technology transformation differently, but there are common themes that all legal departments face during major business disruptions.

  • Legal departments should enhance their technology infrastructure to adapt to meet extraordinary business requirements.
  • Major events like COVID-19 increase pressure on legal departments to reduce costs, while sustaining current delivery and execution levels.
  • The emergence of COVID-19 demonstrates the need for corporate legal departments to assess the design of their operating model.
  • COVID-19 and events of similar magnitude require legal departments to integrate legal
  • Technology expertise into their operations.

How are corporate legal departments using technology differently in the era of COVID-19?

With low barriers to entry and the potential benefits of automation, investment in legal technology is a solid choice for corporate legal departments.

  • COVID-19 drives home the need for corporate legal departments to rethink their technology strategy.
  • COVID-19 demonstrates the need for legal departments to execute on a framework to upgrade their operating model
  • Legal departments must accelerate digitalization in light of major business disruptions like COVID-19

How will the pandemic accelerate legal department technology adoption for future business impact?

COVID-19 is forcing organizations to consider alternative ways to perform traditional business functions. Corporate legal departments have several ways in which to leverage the power of technology to enhance their operations during this time of crisis and beyond.

  • Automation takes on more routine tasks, allowing corporate lawyers to focus on higher-value tasks.
  • Legal departments adopting innovative plans can benefit most from the changing technology landscape.
  • Legal departments can see cost savings as legal technology begins to perform simpler, more routine tasks.
  • Corporate legal departments need to proactively manage cybersecurity risk to safeguard digitized data.

It’s critical for legal departments to stay ahead of the technology curve during the COVID-19 era

New technologies are being introduced regularly and providers can demonstrate proof of concept pilots to help determine whether their tools are a good fit for a particular legal department. The first step in determining which technology is best suited for that department is to understand what functions (e.g., invoicing, operations, matter administration, etc.) are best suited for automation or a technology enhancement. Another way for legal departments to stay up-to-date on ever-changing technology capabilities is to subscribe to webcasts and attend legal technology trade shows. This will confirm that they have the most current information about technologies presently available, the capabilities of each technology, and projection for legal technology.

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Chris Kontaridis

US Deals, Strategy & Operations Leader for Tax Reporting & Strategy, PwC US

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