3 Ways Technology Extends Legal Department’s Budgets

legal department's budgets

Legal departments are often glanced over when it comes to budgeting in a business — faced with the need to do more with less. In fact, a recent EY and Harvard Law survey supports this notion, as general counsels expect 25 percent greater workloads in the next three years, yet 88 percent of them plan budget cuts.

With increasing workloads and shrinking budgets, it’s imperative that legal and other operational teams leverage technology to expand their capacity and production. The theory is simple and sound – introduce technology to automate the previously manual tasks and free the talented resources to exercise their maximum utility. The challenge, however, is actually delivering the technology solution to live up to its marketing.  By leveraging proven AI solutions, companies can gain the scale, consistency, and accuracy required to expand its productive capacity while at the same time lowering its cost to serve.

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Transforming Paper-Based Processes with The Help of AI and ML

One of the best ways legal teams can maximize their budgets is applying technology to digitize efforts and transform paper-based processes. Specifically, AI and ML can help to unburden these high value resources of time-consuming, low-value, and repetitive tasks. In a recent PwC survey, AI-based data extraction techniques saved businesses 30 to 40 percent of the hours typically dedicated toward such processes.

The investment into this technology has become even more pressing in the current environment. As most legal departments relied heavily on paper-based processes, they faced major setbacks when remote work became a requirement two years ago. Many legal departments ran into this issue when workers didn’t have access to file cabinets. Digitizing processes offers a solution for these previously faced challenges, while allowing for better data security, a more seamless workflow, and an overall streamlined organization.

Applying Technology to Multiply the Efforts of a Workforce

AI and ML can also help legal team’s efforts go further, which is especially critical amid the ‘Great Resignation’. Legal departments worldwide have increasingly reported talent retention among their biggest challenges in addition to technology implementation. An investment in AI and ML can offer an innovative work environment enabling an expanded production capacity giving core resources the opportunity to grow and succeed in addressing the high value challenges presented.

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Conquering Contract Management With AI

Legal teams can also ensure prescriptive insights to actively manage the performance of their agreements with the implementation of contract intelligence technology. As legal teams are tasked with keeping track of key events throughout the contract lifecycle — like contract auto renewals, contract signature deadlines, securing funding, client approvals and all other contract milestones — contract lifecycle management solutions can help these teams stay on top of contracts with the addition of automated alerts and notifications. These alerts can be sent before any and every contract milestone and allow legal teams to make data-driven decisions that support contract performance and negotiations before a renewal.

With the implementation of contract intelligence, information is automatically extracted, organized, and shared with those responsible for the performance of an enterprise’s commercial agreements.  This level of automation and intelligence shifts the focus and energy from the reactive ‘finding and researching’ to the consistent proactive steps to optimize performance.

When legal departments embrace the implementation of AI and ML in 2022, we will begin to see them take full advantage of the budget they are allocated and true returns on such investments. Despite common fears that come with the adoption of new AI and ML technology, legal departments will quickly realize that technology solutions can effectively automate repetitive day-to-day tasks, helping organizations become more efficient, competitive, compliant, and profitable.

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