In-house lawyers news archive

Legal Process Outsourcing: How the right processes and technology can bring efficiencies, add value and help your legal team create “more for less”.

30 October 2014

By Robert Glennie of NewGalexy

At a time when many legal teams are trying to reduce the amount of work they send to external law firms and to do “more for less” within growing businesses and organisations which have ever-increasing need for the support and assistance which in-house legal teams provide, two key questions which in-house lawyers should consider are:

  • Are the right resources being used to undertake different elements of work within your in-house team? and
  • Could your team be better utilised (and even better motivated) by de-constructing the work which they do into (i) elements of work which would better be outsourced in some way, and (ii) elements of work which should continue to be done by members of your team?

De-constructing legal transactions 

A CPD event which NewGalexy recently ran for The Law Society of Scotland generated considerable interest – and this article offers a “taster” of some of the topics which were discussed at that event.

Consider “breaking down” legal tasks and transactions, and “mapping out who does what” within your business or organisation.  By using this de-construction process, you can analyse (i) which elements of the particular legal transaction need genuine “high level” legal expertise and (ii) which tasks have an element of process to them, do not need such high-level expertise and can therefore be completed more effectively, and more cheaply, by an organisation such as a Legal Process Outsourcer (“LPO”), like NewGalexy.

Take, for example, a large litigation or a series of smaller, but similar, litigations.  You should consider whether certain elements of any electronic discovery process could (or should) be outsourced to an LPO.  It is now very common (especially in North America and increasingly in the UK) for LPOs to carry out bulk work in relation to electronic discovery and document review by using technology and sophisticated processes to deliver these services.  These techniques can be applied equally effectively in Investigations, Arbitrations and Disputes.  Why divert your internal resources or incur the expense of using an external law firm for preliminary “document sifting and analysis” – when that can be done more cheaply and effectively by an LPO?

Most legal transactions have an element of process to them.  Most legal transactions and projects can readily be de-constructed.  An M&A transaction, for example, might be broken down into the following constituent parts:

Graphic For Robert Glennie Article

 

 

“Right-sourcing”

The process of collecting and indexing electronic and physical documents does not need a high level of legal expertise.  In America, lawyers describe allocating that type of task to an LPO as “right-sourcing”.  By pre-agreeing exactly what the LPO should check for and report on, a searchable database of information can be created, and that database can be used after the acquisition has been completed: that should help with post acquisition harmonisation and, if necessary, amendment of some of the target company’s contracts.  Consider what key obligations you would like to be reported on within the due diligence review.  If, later, you need to know – for example – which contracts include change of control provisions, a simple search will produce that information for you. That adds value to the due diligence exercise – by recording information which can be used after the acquisition has been completed.

As long ago as 2011, a report for the Association of Corporate Counsel found that the majority of in-house counsel it had surveyed felt that routine legal work, low value and low risk contracts, and document review consumed far too much of their time – relative to the value of these matters to the organisations in which they worked.  They commented that they would prefer to concentrate on more valuable work, engage more with their colleagues in their organisations and provide input to strategic planning decisions.

Developments in Technology

Recently, technology available to in-house legal counsel has improved and dropped in price.  For too long, other professions (for example, accountants) have been able to licence a wide range of fixed price technology – while lawyers have not. 

My experience working with KPMG stimulated my interest in how the use of processes and technology could help lawyers adapt to change.  Technology will play an increasingly significant part in the working lives of lawyers – but to be successful, technology must be affordable and intuitive. It needs to be an easy-to-use enabler, making change easy to accept and implement.  

Building on the work which it has done in developing processes to assist in-house counsel to drive efficiency and contain costs, NewGalexy has developed technology which is easy to use, intuitive and available at an affordable fixed price - to enable in-house counsel, procurement professionals and potentially others within businesses and organisations to:

  • Automate contract assembly and creation,
  • Ensure that pre-set levels of approval are granted before contracts are generated,
  • Set work-flows, automate reminders and assess contract risk, and also
  • Manage the lifecycle of contracts. 

No need, any longer, to pay for expensive consultancy and implementation “extras”.  No need, any longer, for expensive IT professionals to help you get started.  No need, and longer, for months of delay and haggling over fluid pricing.  Anyone who can operate WORD, can operate NewGalexy’s ContractPod™ technology.  What ContractPod™ can do is explained in greater detail at www.contractpod.com

And, if you have legacy contracts that you would like to load into ContractPod™, NewGalexy’s LPO lawyers can do that for you (or you can have your own people do that for you, if you prefer).  Getting fully “up and running” is neither lengthy nor complicated. 

Some businesses – including many large banks – have created their own teams of IT professionals to design their own automation technology.  But not all businesses will want to commit to that substantial investment – especially as “off-the-shelf” technology becomes available to them.

Could any of this help your organisation? 

Whether your organisation is in the private or the public sector, you will have contracts that you could automate (from an NDA to a Master Services Agreement), transactions which you could streamline and make more efficient through process mapping, or elements of tasks or transactions which could be more appropriately resourced.  

The need to do “more for less” will be a continuing driver of change in the ways in which legal services will, in future, be delivered.  If this short article stimulates your thinking about how some of the changes discussed here might benefit your organisation, it will have met its purpose. 

Robert Glennie is a Director of NewGalexy Services Limited.  He’s been with NewGalexy since 2005, having previously been a partner in McGrigors and CEO of KLegal International (KPMG’s former international grouping of law firms).  Robert holds an LL.B. from the University of Strathclyde and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators.  To hear more about NewGalexy’s legal support solutions or its ContractPod™ technology please contact: +44 141 280 1600 or robert.glennie@newgalexy.com