What do we mean by ‘legal operations’?
Over the past few years, in-house legal teams have come under increasing pressure from executive teams to support the business’s operations whilst minimising overhead spend and the time taken to conduct their work. This has increasingly led GCs to give consideration to how their legal teams operate and create ‘service delivery’ plans and processes to maximise the value that a legal team can add to a business. Many larger legal departments now have dedicated legal operations employees to oversee this work and manage both implementing technology products and internal projects.
What are the objectives/KPIs for effective legal operations?
The biggest KPI for any in-house legal team is measuring the quantity of work both coming in to and being completed by the legal team. This allows GCs to identify any bottlenecks which could be impacting the wider business and identify opportunities to either find more efficient ways of working or increase resource. Quality based metrics (such as the value of completed contracts or the number of successful litigations) also help measure the current effectiveness of processes and can identify areas for the team to focus on.
Legal operations personnel should seek to use and monitor such data to deliver measurable improvements and ensure transparency across the business. Structured data that accurately records all of the work being done by the legal team is essential to being able to start delivering improved legal operations.
Obtaining data using BRYTER
BRYTER allows in-house legal teams to start automating their processes and create meaningful data to both measure the team’s workload as well as allowing to continuously improve the automated services.
One way to both deliver immediate time savings and collect meaningful data is to build a ‘Legal Intake Management Tool’ on BRYTER (also known as a ‘Legal Front Door’). This module can be integrated onto a company’s intranet, SharePoint or Microsoft Teams instances and act as the point of entry for anyone in the business with a legal query. The module can then use BRYTER’s logic to guide the user to the correct solution for their query. This could either be relevant advice, escalation to the appropriate lawyer or to be sent to the correct process (either another BRYTER module or any existing process or tool available to the business).
Whilst in some cases the initial time savings compared with existing processes may not be large – the main benefits delivered by such a product are the consistency in having one place for the business to submit their requests to the legal team and, most importantly, the structured data created as a result of requests being input into a module.
Using data to drive efficiency and time saving
After the launch of the ‘Legal Intake Management Tool’, those responsible for legal operations can use the statistics dashboard in BRYTER to see graphs and data regarding the use of this module. This allows them to identify the most common requests coming into the legal team and work to further automate these using additional BRYTER modules.
For example, if the most common contract requested by the business is a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), the natural next step would be to provide an automated version of the business’s NDA via a BRYTER module. This enables not only for this document to then be available on a ‘self-service’ basis (with the Legal Intake module updated to send users wishing to create an NDA to the new module) but also for a ‘playbook’ for such a document to be created – limiting the business to terms and wording that would be agreeable to the legal team. This newly automated process delivers immediate benefits to the legal operations of the team, both helping drive quantity metrics via quick self-service document generation but also qualitative as all NDAs will be following the business’s playbook and are centrally recorded in BRYTER. Businesses can continue this process not only to enable self-service document generation, but also provide advice and check compliance for a variety of different enquires across multiple legal areas.
Measuring legal operations efficiency and improving continuously
After launching additional modules, the time savings or increased operational efficiency can be measured by revisiting the structured data generated by your BRYTER modules. Many businesses attribute a set time saving to every use of a module and can then use this to calculate the overall time saved by the new process. This data can also be used to identify further opportunities to increase efficiency. Both the Legal Intake module and additional modules built can be continuously amended and improved to further improve legal operations.