How to solve the Hidden liability within Corporate Legal departments

by PracticeLeague

It is indeed doubtless that an amazing number of issues and headaches are dealt with, by General Counsels every day. Starting with, giving direction to the business in line with its legal obligations, benchmarking their teams with the industry standards, advising board members, teams and lawyers on important matters, et al and all of this is not easy to keep up with.

The onset of cloud technology in the Legal industry has led many Legal Departments to realize the need of implementing a solution for making their work easier. While these said solutions have proved to be very efficient and most needed in every Corporate Legal Department, there are some unseen issues within the Corporate Legal Departments which have the tenacity to bill huge amounts to the enterprise and silently slow the work process.

The volume of unstructured data

Any piece of data outside of a formal database is unstructured data. This includes data stored on computers, hard drives, phones, laptops or any other storage device. However, with the advent of Cloud Storage, a huge amount of data is also stored on GDrive, Sharepoint etc. It is a common knowledge that corporate legal departments have a voracious amount of data to handle throughout, hence resulting in volumes of unstructured data. As the magnitude of data increases, the sorting, and processing of this information become overwhelming. This creates the possibility of replicated information in the databases.

Unstructured data Chart

According to reports, unstructured data accounts for 90 percent of the digital universe, which estimates that these files are growing at a rate of 60-70 percent per year. As with the Legal sector, not all data or information can be accounted to be rationalized or deleted. However, a single document management solution can certainly organize and categorize all the information and eliminate this problem.

Lot of ROT data

Redundant data

When the data storage size starts showing in gigabytes and terabytes, it is unquestionable that there will be huge amounts of redundant, obsolete and trivial data (ROT data) in it. It is sheer fantasy to think that any organization has the time or resources to make granular, file-by-file decisions to categorize millions of pieces of information. The subsequent way to tackle this problem is to analyze the data categories and group them into multiple dimensions. You can arrange workflow around data and information for e.g. link documents to matters, contracts, compliance, etc. This can be achieved by adding a layer of specific legal software solutions between accessing and storing data.

No unified mail archival system

While dealing with cases of various priorities it is needed that sensitive information is readily available. Cases and information from Legal Departments and outside counsels need to be at a single place for anyone to access. Many lawyers prefer this information stored on their devices and computers in the form of emails but it is difficult to search this data when required and archive it will matters or tasks. Hence, when opting for your legal management systems, look for auto email archival to ensure important emails are available for easy access and tagged with their respective matters for a holistic view of all information.

Cost of storing documents

Most enterprises rent a storage facility to store information online. If the organization has any litigation matters, the collected information is identified, reviewed and stored before being disclosed. The whole process can cost in excess of $5,000 per gigabyte, not inclusive of the cost of hosting the document throughout the duration of the litigation.

According to sources, e-data is growing at exponential rates, and it builds to the point where the proportion is overwhelming. It also carries a big price: Gartner estimates that it costs $5 million per year to store and manage a petabyte of information. Unfortunately, mass-deleting information carries cost as well, including the loss of data that might be important to the business, and the risk of deleting information required for regulatory compliance. But perhaps the biggest cost of unidentified data comes when a company must pay to categorize data as part of a legal electronic discovery process.

The RAND Corporation put a number on that process of producing electronic discovery: approximately $940 per gigabyte to collect the data, $US2,931 per gigabyte to process it, and $US13,636 to review it, including fees and expenses for legal counsel.

This is an inevitable cost which corporate Legal departments have to incur. Unless, you have a matter management system in place to link documents, emails, calendars, etc. to matters and sync this information with your mobile devices to allow quick upload and easy access of information. This lessens the amount of redundant information and cost eventually decreses.

Performance managing of external law firms

Work has not just grown in volume, it has also changed in nature. External firms are increasingly part of the enterprise systems and controls. A matter, when submitted for external counsel’s help, has stipulated timelines and the planned activity needs to be closed in that time span. Any increment in the time actually increases legal spend. Hence tracking the performance of external law firm is of utmost importance.

Performance management

The task is easy if there are few cases and few external law firms involved, it becomes insurmountable when there are an innumerable number of tasks in hand and many external law firms are working on it. Having specific standards that gauge outside counsel’s management can greatly help in maintaining a standard of performance while a solution to track the budgets, performance, comparing total cost and paying options unified can help in tracking the efficiency of your entire team.

Internal case updates

What are the law firms working on? What are the next dates? What are the are next activities? How much of the task have they covered and how much time is remaining? A tedious task to remember or to maintain. Even within a corporate Legal department, when a matter is directed towards a division, the rest of the departments are not aware. A multiple support platform for updating all the open and closed cases in an enterprise is necessary, it helps multiple divisions to work on same matters and share updates on a real-time basis.

The Best Solution

A general counsels list contains items like dealing with risk reduction, technology needs, management practices, key analytics, and ways to enhance the value of the department to the business. These hidden liabilities are often thought of inevitable and sidelined but it affects the department and the business.

Applying multiple functionalities in a legal department for solving various task is a bad practice as these are not well integrated and cause a disruption in the workflow. An integrated solution is a need. PracticeLeague offers a robust and scalable platform that works on the hidden liabilities and also as a matter management, legal spend management, contract lifecycle management and compliance management software all in one, giving you the flexibility to enhance the processes in your department.

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