3 Steps to Create Next-Gen Legal Departments

First Reviewed : September 8, 2022
Last Reviewed: September 8, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the legal industry to reimagine its environment and how it interacts with the world at large. New advances in technology, a unique way of working, and amendments to litigation and compliance created a new legal landscape. Legal technology disrupted the world of legal as we know it, and is creating the next generation of legal departments. 

Above the Law notes that legal departments need to quickly evolve, so as to harness the new tools and tech at their fingertips. Employing outdated modes of functioning will weigh legal departments down, which is why they need to transform into Next-Gen legal departments. 

These are the 3 key elements that legal departments need to inculcate, to ensure that they become a next-gen legal department geared towards success:

1. Defining Roles & Responsibilities 

2. Evolving Legal Landscape 

3. Enabling Careers for Legal Talent 

1. Defining Roles & Responsibilities 

Legal departments are generally called upon after contracts or other legal papers have been signed. In order to tap into their higher purpose, with a seat at the table, legal departments need to re-examine their goals and purpose. 

General counsels will have to define the legal department’s roles and responsibilities and present it to the organization. This will drive the legal department to becoming a stakeholder in key business decisions, rather than being a mere afterthought. 

Every legal process that the company integrates will have to go through the legal department right from drafting to execution and beyond. Legal departments have the capacity and capability to ensure that their organization runs smoothly, without any legal hiccups. 

2. Evolving Legal Landscapes

The legal landscape is swiftly leveling up. Although the pandemic had a role to play, these advances were in the pipeline, but emerged rapidly after COVID-19. Whether it’s legal tech, or new ways to work, next-gen legal departments know that success happens by embracing change. 

Legal Tech

Legal tech is undoubtedly one of legal’s biggest disruptors in modern times. An evolving legal landscape factors in the benefits, while mitigating any risks. A 2022 Gartner report on legal tech states that legal departments will increase their legal technology spend threefold by 2025. There’s a good reason, too. Legal technology simplifies legal department processes, which in turn boosts productivity and therefore helps cut back on costs. In addition, legal tech allows in-house lawyers the opportunity to get the time they need to focus on pressing issues. 

Remote, or Hybrid, Work Models 

Changing work models during the pandemic for an industry with highly sensitive content presented new security concerns and other challenges in accessing files, contracts, and other data while working from home. At the same time, the sensitive nature of legal matters calls for tighter and more secure safety features to ensure that this information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Legal matters, unlike in other sectors, could mean the end for organizations, or the leaking of content that should have been kept private. 

A Solution for Every Legal Need 

Outsourcing to law firms was a tried-and-tested way to get work done fast, while legal departments worked on pressing matters, or were spread thin. Today’s legal departments are spoiled for choice with the vast array of legal tech solutions for virtually every legal need. GCs at legal departments will need to learn about the different niche services available, and which ones pertain to their legal department. Whether it’s a CLM solution, or an NDA review service, there’s a solution that’s customizable for every legal department. 

3. Enabling Careers for Legal Talent 

A McKinsey article notes that acquiring new talent will be a key element that legal departments need to focus on. This will ensure the continued growth and success of legal departments, as younger talent often don’t see in-house roles as their first choice. 

Organizations are enticing potential talent by creating work environments conducive to busy and demanding young attorneys. These measures include the assembly of multidisciplinary teams, better work hours, and flexible or part-time work models. 

The Next-Gen Legal Department

Modern challenges require modern solutions. Creating a next-gen legal department that taps into the strengths of an evolving legal industry will drive success, offer better solutions for organizations, and keep in-house happy. 

Create A Next-gen Legal Department With Our Solutions

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