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5 problems faced by most corporate in-house lawyers

In-house challenges
In-house challenges

Expectations for legal departments are rising with the demands that organizations are placing on them 24/7.

Meanwhile GCs are facing more challenges than ever with rising case complexity, document volumes, and the need to keep track of more matter details and tasks.

1. Managing risk and litigation

Ultimately, the biggest nightmare of any GC is litigation.

First, there is the business risk that litigation can potentially sink a company or put the promoters or board members personally on the line.

Second, there are the dozens or even hundreds of ongoing court matters that could drag into many many years. However, if these are not managed correctly and important court dates are missed because your team or external counsel are not on the ball, could cause some of these more routine matters to spiral into the first category.

2. Finding the right document at the right time

No matter how organized you may be as an in-house lawyer, you cannot change the document management habits of others. Your peers may not store documents in the same meticulous manner as you. So, when it comes to needing a document urgently, you needlessly wait while the person whom you have asked for it is rummaging through his folders, inbox, shared drive location, etc.

Even if those in your team happen to be fairly organized, it may not be true for the other functions or your suppliers or external lawyers. Changing the habits of so many stakeholders is nothing short of an overambitious attempt.

3. You’ve got mail....and by the thousands

On an average, you could receive anywhere between fifty to a few hundred mails on any given day. Many of these mails come with attachments related to various matters. These documents very rarely leave the inbox and get stored in folders belonging to the relevant matter. Hence, when it comes to retrieving a document from this monolithic email block, it could be quite a nightmare for an already busy lawyer.

Add to this the email habits of the senders. Most people tend to send emails with vague subject lines like ‘Pending discussion’ or ‘Need some advice’ which say nothing about either the matter or the contents of the mail.

4. Managing your external lawyers

The relationship between in-house counsel and law firms is symbiotic but also often strained.

Most of the times this strain is caused by communication gaps between the two sides. These gaps are a result of not having a proper collaborative space. Siloed activity can also result in misunderstandings between the people working on a common work product. These gaps widen and create a very difficult work environment.

Legal spends are a common cause of concern for business. In-house teams are often unaware of their spends until they balloon into unmanageable bills. It would be a lot easier for legal teams to be able to communicate an estimated cost of litigation to the business functions to avoid any surprises towards the end of the matter.

5. The ‘T’ word

Technology, the very mention of it can make many a lawyer uneasy. They would rather work in the environment that they are used to over the years than spend valuable time learning a new software. Most software solutions come with lengthy training time attached to them.
Ambitious technology drives meet with failure even before implementation because the lawyers are not convinced of the tangible benefit at the end of the implementation.
Making lawyers work on multiple interfaces and enter the same data in different systems can be quite counter-productive to the objective of introducing technology for improving efficiency of an in-house legal department.

5 reasons to consider cutting-edge solutions from Thomson Reuters

The good news is that there are matter management solutions like Thomson Reuters’ Concourse and Serengeti Tracker are two solutions which allow you to manage the above challenges and get more out of your resources.

Click here to find out more or read on below.

1. Matter Based Collaboration Space

Matter Room allows you, your team, your internal business partners, and outside counsel to access all your matter- related activity in a secure environment. Matter room functions as a centralized repository to upload documents, emails and images, and share them with those you designate – including a library where you can upload frequently used templates.

2. Seamless integration with the tools you use everyday

Concourse connects the tools you use everyday – Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer. It makes it easy to put your matter-related material in one place so you can collaborate on matters in a streamlined and efficient manner.

3. Powerful Search

Much more than document storage, Concourse enables you to search precisely across matter documents and communication. It saves time by allowing the legal department and outside counsel to reuse the past work product and save the cost of reinventing the wheel.

4. Control

Serengeti Tracker gives you unprecedented control over external lawyers, who can not only file documents and updates straight into the system but also stay aware of key dates, giving you the ability to keep track of the matters.

5. Financial Management

Serengeti Tracker provides you one secure platform to help the in-house and outside counsel coordinate legal project activity, track spending budget, manage electronic bill delivery, currency conversion, law firm and law department budgeting. This feature avoids any surprises in terms of legal spends, which most otherwise become known only towards the end of the matter.

This post is sponsored by Thomson Reuters. To find out more about Concourse and Serengeti Tracker, visit http://legalsoftwaresolutions.in/

NB: Comments on sponsored posts may be moderated