PracticeLeague - Legal Technology Solutions

A Paperless Legal Department: An Emerging Reality

by PracticeLeague

 

Like for most other departments, there is pressure on corporate legal departments of organizations to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and demonstrate a higher return on investment than before.

Sometimes legal departments process as many as 1,000 of agreements per year. Preparation of contracts and their review is mostly done manually in legal departments. Manual processing of legal agreements requires a lot of effort. Attorneys prepare agreements on a case-by-case basis. For each agreement, the language is different. Once the documents are complete, storing them and then retrieving them for searching for reference take a lot of administrative effort. Manual work also brings in confusion and can result in duplicate effort by different individuals all trying to track down the same documents.

Here are some automation practices for going paperless

Scanning system

By investing in a good scanner, the legal department can scan and digitize all existent and incoming legal and commercial documents in a physical format and store them as a digital file. The physical document can then be kept as a backup record. Sometimes lawyers have this concern that someday they might need a document in its original piece of paper. So some paper records might be kept. By moving the file or document storing system to a digital one, legal departments move to a more productive system of information storage, access and retrieval. A good document management system help quickly retrieve information stored in digital files, by client, by case context and so on. This can potentially save many hours that are otherwise spent in retrieving information stored in physical documents.

Digital signatures and letter heads

You could get your letterhead converted into an electronic template that can be used for E-mail. With the click of a pre-saved button, the letterhead pops up on the screen. And you can then simply type on it and save it or E-mail or Fax it directly from your computer. Likewise you can digitize signatures and have them popup on the screen at the click of a button to be incorporate into a document.

Invest in a legal department management software. A good legal department management software will have the following features and capabilities.

Matter or Case Management: Will enable all the legal matters to be centralized across all your offices including internal contracts, legal opinions, litigations and arbitrations. Up-to-date case status is available at a single click including tracking high-risk litigations and current legal liability. Alerts and reminders are central to this system which alert and remind you about important court dates and activities.

Document Assembly & Management: allows lawyers to create documents electronically with minimal data input error, store them centrally, search them and retrieve them. These include logic-based systems that utilize segments of pre-existing text and/or data to assemble a new document. This process can be used to assemble legal documents, contracts and letters. Security and privacy measures allow only authorized people to create, modify or access certain documents. With this system, lawyers reduce the effort in producing legal documents significantly. They also have critical legal information at the tips of the fingers, which helps them serve clients better. A document assembly system simplifies the administrative task of storing and organizing documents and removes human error and duplication of effort as well as the delays and frustrations of misplaced papers and documents.

Email and Electronic File Management system: Most legal departments use email to communicate rather than post or fax. This system enables legal departments to store and retrieve emails and files related to matters in an easy way. Searching for emails and communication pertaining to a client or a case becomes very simple using this system. These systems integrate with ms outlook.

Contact Management system: Contacts are central to any legal practice. Keeping track of the addresses, emails, phone numbers as well as the communications between the company and the legal contacts is also a daunting administrative task. Most legal departments resort to spreadsheets or simple relational databases. But these do not provide the capability of storing communications as well as pertinent documents and notes pertinent to a particular contact. A contact management module enables organizations to manage all the information regarding contacts including external law firms, counsels, etc. in a comprehensive way.

Legal Fees Recording and Budgeting: All legal fees are recorded in the system to track and monitor legal budgets and spends across all matters. External Lawyer and Law firm bills are recorded and tracked with regard to the original mandates and completed activities to ensure accuracy.

The legal department becomes ‘paperless’, uses fewer resources than before, becomes more efficient and productive. From document automation alone, legal departments stand to save the equivalent of five full-time paralegals in productivity gains. Uberall's Ready to use Corporate Legal Department solution enables enterprises to manage all legal matters centrally. Court dates, deadlines, legal charges, budgets and documents can be accessed at any time. Uberall's PracticeLeague Corporate Legal Solution offers complete internal legal work queue and litigation management across all local and international offices and branches. Further, case status information can be captured from the law firms and independent attorneys at real-time.

 

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