In-House Legal Technology Trends – What Corporate Counsel Can Expect in 2022
Indeed, it is that time of year when companies create their corporate budgets, come up with organizational initiatives, and set team goals for the next 12 months. Not surprisingly, it is also when many forward-looking companies consider the trends around legal technology.
But it is challenging for futurists — in many industries — to foresee the near future, especially as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. One thing is for certain, though: the pace and impact of legal innovation will only continue to increase. In particular, there are five digital trends that are on our radar here at ContractPodAi.
1. Remote Work
In a 2021 Lawyers On Demand survey, 96 percent of international in-house legal and compliance respondents said they would continue to work remotely. They offered that the value of their work far outweighed the number of hours they spent in the office. About a third of those surveyed expressed that legal tech-enabled them to innovate, improve performance, and become trusted advisors within their organizations.
According to Futurism.com, many Gen Z members entering the workforce do not understand how file systems work to the extent that their elders do. They see repositories as a “bucket” for search and retrieval, instead of a structured file library or repository. So the easier it is for younger legal team members to find what they want — and eliminate clunky shared drives — the better. Fortunately, though, cloud-based applications that offer secure messaging, document authoring, file sharing, and collaborative review have advanced a great deal in recent years.
2. Client Experience
General counsels (GCs) and their legal teams are taking on more and more responsibility around risk management, compliance, mergers and acquisitions, and overall business readiness. At the same time, there are many tech trends, like contract management, document automation, and client portals, which are key to better client experiences.
According to a recent KPMG report, legal client experience will increasingly be “at the heart of legal delivery” in the coming years. By leveraging internal data and refining processes with the help of technology, corporate counsels can improve their service delivery altogether and take on more strategic advisory roles, keeping up with legal technology trends.
3. Analytics, Process Automation, and Machine Learning
Contract-related data, including terms and obligations, can be quite elusive without intelligent reporting tools. With the latter in hand, legal teams can not only view vital contractual information, but also set up triggers for approaching milestone, renewal, and expiry dates, and become trusted allies of cross-organizational teams, including finance, sales, and services. By automating high-volume, low-complexity tasks, they can spend less time on mundane work like reviewing contract terms and more time on alerting leadership teams to potential risks.
Of course, artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics further enable legal professionals to have a seat at the table for strategic business decisions. Machine learning (ML) algorithms, more specifically, help them to review their existing contracts and related documents efficiently and effectively.
4. Cyber Security
According to the International Bar Association, companies are increasingly seeking advice about data security from their in-house legal teams. In fact, many companies have appointed chief legal officers, chief privacy officers, and chief information security officers to improve their company’s legal posture. That is because they play an important role in creating policies around the management of personal information and setting privacy standards across the organization.
As standards like GDPR, PCI-DSS (for consumer and corporate credit card transactions,) HIPAA, and bank encryption continue to ramp up, cyber-attack vectors will continue to evolve to elude safeguards, which companies will then need to build up, monitor, and test against all known threats. In recent years, public and private sector organizations have been targeted by ransomware, phishing, and malware attacks. An IBM study found that compromised user credentials were the most common cause of data breaches, and breaches involving remote workers cost USD $1 million more per attack than breaches within traditional office environments. But human error and malicious data sharing also lead to the loss of valuable information, such as employee and customer data, and intellectual capital.
More and more, then, organizations will need to demonstrate that they have robust policies in place to mitigate internal threats — and strong defenses against external ones to maintain a healthy cyber score.
5. Low-Code and No-Code App Development and Integration
Let’s face it, the practice of law in many organizations is getting increased attention from application developers and other IT functions. Accordingly, many companies have discovered the benefits of low- or no-code application development. A .2021 Gartner report in fact showed that more than 40 percent of non-IT employees now customize or build their own applications And they expect that number to increase to nearly half of all IT buyers by 2025, as low- or no-code applications and frameworks are in the form of creation and workflow space, which is common to legal departments, in particular.
What is more, savvy legal in-house legal tech buyers are looking for pre-built integrations, to save time and money while integrating ERP, CRM, and portal sites, for example.
How Do Our Legal Technology Trends Predictions Compare with Your Own?
By looking at and carefully considering legal technology trends, legal departments and companies can better plan for the coming year. By choosing a legal platform that meets and exceeds corporate counsel’s needs, and seamlessly integrates with other applications, they can facilitate the cooperation and collaboration between attorneys and cross-functional teams.
So, are you interested in seeing how ContractPod’s One Legal Platform addresses all of these trends and digital transformation imperatives? To find out more, contact us and book your demo today!
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