Why in-house legal teams need to modernize their operations — not just update their contract management processes

Co-workers sit at a table and listen to a male colleague give a presentation

Microsoft 365–based matter lifecycle management goes beyond contract management to help corporate legal teams achieve full operational transformation.

In today’s fast-moving corporate environment, in-house legal teams need to keep up with the rapid pace of work — and that means modernizing and digitalizing corporate legal operations, instead of relying on inefficient, time-consuming, legacy manual processes. The COVID-19 pandemic has only added to the urgency, as dispersed teams, disrupted workflows, and new pressures to fulfill increasingly diverse business needs have made it even more challenging to track and manage matters like intake, completion, and reporting.

An increasing number of corporate legal departments are now taking a more formal approach to contract lifecycle management (CLM) — one of many demands on in-house legal teams. Technology can certainly help teams streamline their contract management, creation, and tracking for greater efficiency. But CLM is just one of many content-based challenges that corporate legal operations face every day — so companies shouldn’t stop at improving only CLM when assessing their modernization needs.

Considering the big picture of contract management transformation

Instead of limiting the scope of process improvements by transforming just one area of their routine work, in-house teams should consider the full range of the contract activities they’re involved in, and make sure they can address all of them in the most efficient, optimized way in their everyday work.

For example, while some in-house teams mainly draft, review, and collaborate on documents as part of the contract lifecycle, other teams are also responsible for storing and sharing documents, while others are more contract-heavy and need more specialized capabilities.

If in-house teams focus their attention and budget dollars solely on streamlining just one function, like honing contract management, they may inadvertently create a new content silo and additional process complexity — and may neglect to streamline other important aspects of the way they work.

Driving true, data-driven transformation

A more comprehensive, high-impact approach to tech-enabled matter management transformation requires a single connected platform — giving in-house legal teams the ability to routinely record and analyze the work they do, and cultivate a more data-driven way of thinking, working, and reporting. General counsel (GCs) and business managers — such as matter volume, type, requirements, resources, outcomes, delivery, and trends — enabling legal teams to work more efficiently and clearly demonstrate their value.

Once corporate legal departments are consistently tracking matters from triage, allocation, and business delivery — from within a single, centralized platform, without needing to switch between systems — those corporate legal departments can learn more about their legal teams’ total workload, how that workload is increasing over time, and how the team is allocating resources. This new visibility can help build a case for additional budget, and help legal operations professionals review the way highly qualified lawyers are spending their time. Supported by true, up-to-date records, in-house legal teams can identify additional scope for administration support — as well as or partial or semi-process automation — to manage more of the mundane, routine workload.

Leveraging Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal

All the aforementioned capabilities — including the most critical areas of contract management, such as document collaboration, storage, and management — are well supported within Microsoft 365, a suite of applications already in use across most organizations and their legal teams. Because Microsoft is committed to the ongoing investment in this platform, users can rest assured that the software will continually be updated and supported.

To further improve the Microsoft 365 experience, we created Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal, a rich overlay of in-house legal matter lifecycle management capabilities — including smart document and email filing — that sync with the systems and processes that legal professionals use every day.

A screenshot of the Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal dashboard

Basing advanced matter lifecycle management on the well-established Microsoft 365 platform means that information governance, security, and policy adherence are readily provided for, even when teams are collaborating remotely. User acceptance levels of Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal are extremely high, as legal teams don’t need to switch to unfamiliar applications. Instead, they can continue working in the Microsoft 365 programs they’re familiar and comfortable with, such as Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Outlook.

Most importantly, Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal was developed by in-house legal professionals and purpose-built for corporate legal teams. The software’s capabilities are mapped to the specific tasks legal operations professionals perform each day, and the system is designed to overcome common frustrations and capability gaps.

In these challenging times, the surest bet for maximizing the transformation of in-house legal teams is to help them make smarter use of the tools already widely available to them — breathing new life into those existing investments and boosting their return.

Learn more about how Intapp Documents for Corporate Legal can help you transform your legal operations.

Written by:

Leigh Smith

Practice Group Leader, OnePlace Collaboration & Content

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