The Legal Department is perhaps one of the most misunderstood parts of modern business.
Of all your business departments, the Legal Department ranks among the first that should be targeted for efficiency measures. This is because the Legal Department connects with all aspects of your business and, therefore, any savings made here will resonate throughout your organisation.
What Does The Legal Department Do?
The Legal Department is the point in a business structure where all areas and departments intersect. It is the centre of a networked system that encompasses all commercial activity for your enterprise. In broad terms, your Legal Department is responsible for managing the duties and obligations of a business, in law and in trading activities. Specifically, that means it deals with:
Governance and compliance: This includes overseeing and advising on laws relating to share dealings, mergers and acquisitions, shareholder activities, directors activities, constitution and powers, corporate structure, board and committee training in decision-making, regulatory requirements, and corporate governance.
Communications: This includes Public Relations practices, reputation management, internal communications, social responsibility, and liaison with government and regulators.
Human Resources: It involves dealing with employment law and regulation, as well as any legal issues raised regarding the duties and obligations of either the employer, or the employee.
Finance: The financial side of business is heavily regulated and involves complex tax legislation that varies according to location and industry. Here the Legal Department ensures that financial reporting and tax obligations are met.
Data protection: This is a multi-faceted area that includes governance and compliance with regulation, and also includes the management of supplier and customer relations, in terms of obligation and duty. For the Legal Department, the area of data protection can also involve access requests, and the management of Intellectual Property rights.
Property: The Legal Department is highly involved in all aspects of the business property ownership and facilities management, as well as issues of Health and Safety legislation, from a governance and compliance perspective.
In all of these areas, the main purpose of the Legal Department is Risk Management.
But How does automation help the Legal Department?
The general principle of automation in the workplace is to relieve staff of repetitive, basic tasks. In manufacturing environments, for example, this would be parts of the assembly line. In the Legal Department of any type of business, this would be the fundamentals of Contract Management.
Manual Contract Management is a highly time-consuming process. Legal staff have to manually track changes, find issues of non-compliance, and ensure the effective communication of obligation and duty to all parties. These are inefficient, cumbersome strategies that drain profit from the business in terms of lengthy contract approval processes, and simple but costly human error.
By automating the basic tasks of Contract Management, the efficiency of your Legal Department is greatly improved. The obligations and duties of the business, in terms of regulatory compliance and governance, are easier met.
The Contract Management Software Solution
In Contract Management, a high degree of automation is achieved with the implementation of Contract Management Software. The features offered by the very best of these software packages, such as Scanmarket's Contract Management Software, are specifically tailored to support your Legal Department in such a way as to create increased efficiency throughout your whole operation.
Contract Management Software is built around a centralised document repository containing all contracts, agreements, and supporting documentation. Storing these documents in this way reduces capital expenses, including premises and document storage equipment. It also allows for accurate cataloguing of documentation through the use of metadata which, in turn, reduces the amount of time and effort expended by staff in trying to locate specific documents, information, or clauses.
Without Contract Management Software, a great deal of a Legal Department's time is spent simply chasing documentation, or moving agreements through the chain of approval. Automated workflows not only move documents as required, and on time, they also issue customised alerts and notifications to ensure that negotiations, amendments, drafting, and approvals all happen on schedule.
Cloud-based Contract Management Software allows for authorized personnel to access the system from any internet-connected location, from any web-enabled device. This means that all activity, including amendments, is tracked and recorded as an audit trail. This automated accountability feature makes compliance strategies and reviews more accurate, and less time-consuming to complete.
Every function of the Legal Department relies on staff being able to find and utilise as necessary actionable data. Automated, customised reporting allows for legal staff to mine the centralised repository for specific information, from generalised to granular levels. Data of this type can be used to monitor compliance throughout the company and in specific agreements, and can play an integral role in effective risk management strategies.
By embracing and implementing Contract Management Software, your business can increase efficiency within the Legal Department, and see the impact of those improvements reverberate throughout the organisation. Increased efficiency creates increased productivity, which results in increased profitability for any business.