Legal Operations Heartbeat:


What Does “The Legal Front Door” Do For Your Legal Department?

Corporate legal departments face increasing numbers of requests every year, and the complexity of these requests continues to grow as well. Both internal customers and external resources need varying types of assistance, ranging from the simple (“I can’t find the form I need.”) to the more involved (“Who is the staff expert on my problem?” or “How can I find the procedure I need?”) to the very complex (“We have significant exposure as a result of…”)  

Legal departments are resource constrained, making it difficult to respond to all requests in a timely manner, while ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks. Adding further complexity and urgency to these business requests is potential risk to the organization, if not addressed properly. 

A significant amount of time is spent simply guiding customers to available resources. The vast majority of emails contain redundant questions, random procedural clarifications, or requests for status updates. These types of requests are low hanging fruit for an automation initiative. 

The current approach to ensuring that the department is providing timely and consistent responses and avoiding potential risk is hiring more staff. According to a recent article by Gartner, legal departments face ever-tightening budgets, and the situation will likely get worse, not better. 

So, how do you ensure a customer service experience that is timely, consistent, and results in the best possible outcome? This question is top of mind for today’s legal operations professionals.  

To gain some perspective, let’s start by looking at the technology that already exists. Most legal departments have an intranet site using platforms such as SharePoint, which allows a structured way to manage data and documents, and to display content that customers need as a reference. Unfortunately, these platforms are often not user-friendly, and can be difficult to navigate. Stumbling through them can become frustrating, leaving users unable to find current or complete content or resources that are insufficient for the intended purpose. 

Content that is not readily maintained and is not part of an automated work process prevents the user from solving their issue through self-service and prompts manual outreach to the legal department. The bulk of the requests come in the form of email, which is not effective, consistent, or secure.  

Additionally, requests by email often do not include enough information, prompting back and forth communications which can be tedious and a waste of time and resources. These emails are commonly missed, and furthermore, information being stored in employees’ mailboxes and on mail servers poses a security risk. 

The rest of the technology used by the department is typically comprised of siloed applications that serve a specific purpose, which only enable collaboration using rote work processes contained within each individual application.  

As more of these “legal department solutions” are deployed, customer service levels plateau, primarily because each added point-solution, with its own unique user-experience requires users (external and internal) to learn yet another system and user experience. This inhibits collaboration, and causes an inability to easily track tasks/activities across applications. 

Additionally, with the proliferation of disparate systems, data becomes much more decentralized, making it difficult to mine and to collect the necessary information needed to make informed decisions.  

Customer service levels may further erode if legal departments continue to pursue this decentralized approach. To mitigate this downward trend, legal operations leaders should consider deploying “The Legal Department Front Door.”  

“The Legal Department Front Door” is a critical element needed to shift the paradigm, through innovation, automation, and leadership by example. So, what is it? 

“The Legal Department Front Door” is a centralized portal, or unified landing page, containing everything needed to support employees, outside counsel, and department staff, including access to all legal department applications. Everything that customers and staff need should be accessible from a single location. Think of it as a massive intake system for all of the various types of requests made to the legal department. 

Anyone requiring something from the legal department can go to an easily accessible, intuitively organized Legal Department Front Door. Once there, internal customers or external resources can make requests, access and complete all tasks related to the request, and view real time updates. Each user can see everything that they ever asked of the department from one location. 

The portal page is critical, but it must be supported by an automation platform that is used for building and running all legal department applications. It must contain a cohesive storage environment that can be fully controlled by the legal department, not subject to constraints placed on the SharePoint intranet.  

“The Legal Department Front Door” enables department-wide automation through a LC/NC automation platform, and becomes the vehicle stitching all siloed legal applications into one cohesive environment. Please refer to our article detailing the top ten selection criteria for Low-code/No-Code application platforms. 

“The Legal Department Front Door” gives legal staff and their customers the ability to quickly access important functionality found in existing legacy systems, while also providing important new capabilities like self-service, collaboration, and workflow automation.  

By providing the ability to integrate new automation tools with existing legacy systems, it frees the department to push and pull data between systems, enables the generation of centralized task lists, produces a more cohesive tech stack, and provides the ability to more easily generate key analytics and reports. 

Colleagues, as you develop your legal technology plans, consider “The Legal Department Front Door” as a way to improve your legal team’s level of customer service, increase efficiency, and reduce costs.  An additional unexpected benefit is increased morale among legal department staff and corporate internal customers.  

To learn more about the benefits of a Legal Department Front Door, book a consultation with one of our team members here. As part of the process, we will share with you the most comprehensive Legal Department Front Door solution available in the market today – Legal Automation Group’s MyLegal! 

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