How law departments can boost their tech investments and help modernize their operations with cloud services


Vince DiMascio
Principal, Legal Business Solutions, PwC US

Over the last few years, companies of all shapes and sizes have adopted cloud technologies. PwC’s 2021 US Cloud Business Survey found that 92% of business leaders are either “all in” or have adopted the cloud in many parts of their businesses. However, many organizations have come to realize that a one-site-fits-all approach to cloud doesn’t often work—they will likely need to be more industry or function specific solutions instead.

To help solve that challenge, cloud providers such as Microsoft have developed alliances with companies like PwC to help create sector and function specific services, tools, and pre-packaged solutions optimized for the most important use cases in those areas. These specialized cloud services are now available on demand, enabling teams to innovate and help deliver high quality experiences, adapt quickly, do more, and move faster.

Here are some of the ways cloud services can help create tangible and sustained business value for the law department.

A data lake can break down silos in the law department

A key challenge with leveraging corporate legal technology is that data is often siloed, with no common set of solutions to store, mobilize and leverage information. This can limit the legal team’s ability to automate workflows, quickly find legal information, develop new insights and increase innovation. Data Lake technology removes data silos by efficiently bringing together unstructured and structured data into a single place that legal teams can use to speed up and help enhance legal service delivery.

The big advantage to storing legal data in a data lake is that a lake can be designed specifically to account for the systems, workflows and data the law department and related functions use. With common data models, pre-built data connectors, AI enabled search, and ready to use analytics a Legal data lake helps reduce the time to value for law departments.

Climbing the maturity curve

Modern clouds can make it easier to deploy innovative solutions, which will help you focus on strategic matters while operating with the agility you need to stay ahead of the rapidly changing market. For instance, with PwC’s Cloud for Legal, law departments get access to Microsoft’s industry-leading cloud solutions—including Azure Data Lake Storage, Cognitive Services, Power BI and Power Platform—and a variety of PwC developed legal accelerators, also built on Microsoft's cloud. These solutions can enhance and automate workflows, rapidly digitize content, help provide greater insights and more.

For example, PwC’s Legal NLP, which is part of Cloud for Legal, uses natural language processing to read and automatically extract information from a variety of documents such as case notes, contracts, subpoenas, emails, financial instruments and more. Legal NLP also uses continuous machine learning to further improve accuracy over time. With traditional manual methods it would usually take weeks or possibly months to meaningfully understand a large variety of documents; with Legal NLP, law departments can pull data from reams of files within hours, becoming a more nimble, tech-savvy organization.

Composable LegalTech

You also need your technology to keep up with evolving business demands. Enter composability, which is a concept that involves creating systems and processes via packaged business capabilities (PBC). PBCs are applications or services for a specific business function. These PBCs are like building blocks—they can be easily assembled and reassembled to help deliver solutions that are modular, composable, easily adapted and ready for change.

A modern law department needs a holistic and streamlined technology portfolio that leverages data. This portfolio would include PBCs in the form of packaged accelerators and solutions that can be configured and deployed in all kinds of scenarios. These capabilities deliver value-added features that complement or add depth to leading legal technology software. Microsoft’s PowerPlatform capabilities, for example, allow legal professionals without developer experience to update and configure solutions to their law department’s always-evolving needs. Now law departments can leverage existing investments in legal technology and Microsoft Azure to modernize and enhance legal solutions without a rip-and-replace approach.

A legal NLP capability can provide value across the functions in the law department, not just for handling contracts. Unstructured content flows through multiple functions of the law department. A legal NLP can be integrated into a number of law departments’ workflows that involve unstructured content and documents.

As markets, businesses, and law departments change, legal teams should have technology that supports their own quick adaptation. A composable cloud approach enables that adaptation in a resilient way by providing building blocks that can be continuously reassembled to help automate and enhance legal service delivery, and continually improve legal operations.

Cloud services have been instrumental in helping companies adopt technologies to modernize their operations. The same is now happening in the legal world. With law departments across multiple sectors facing increasing pressure to enable growth and streamline business while still controlling costs, managing risks and dealing with a more complex regulatory environment, modern cloud technology can help you get more out of your existing legal and enterprise technology investments.

Follow us