It is a well-known fact that the legal industry has been slow in adopting technology, being founded on precedence and tradition. However, it does not mean that legal operations professionals have to work with inefficient legacy processes and cannot benefit from the legal tech. On the opposite, in a modern regulatory environment, innovation is critical, given the sheer amount of entities and the volume of regulatory compliance and other legal work.
Under these circumstances, choosing a comprehensive legal operations toolkit is key to success both in startup and corporate legal environments. Below we examine how legal professionals can leverage a tech stack, how to choose the right technology for legal operations and why legal entity management software is a critical part of any legal ops tech portfolio.
Why Legal Teams Can Benefit From Leveraging a Tech Stack
A tech stack or tech portfolio can transform the work of legal teams in many different aspects. It can allow companies to scale up, save time and enable productivity, making it possible for legal ops to focus on the bigger picture.
Helping to Scale Up
Most legal operations professionals would agree that managing even five or ten different legal entities can be burdensome and require a lot of manual work without effective legal software in place. Still, more often than not, corporate paralegals are tasked with managing a much higher number of legal entities with different structures, working at the limit of their capabilities.
Meanwhile, managing multiple legal entities manually calls for creating numerous spreadsheets and leads to errors. By automating legal entity management, legal teams can effectively manage hundreds and even thousands of legal entities, which would be impossible or highly inefficient without leveraging a powerful tech stack.
Saving Time and Boosting Productivity
In today's world, legal ops' ethos is about doing business faster. When companies get massive, start getting involved in many different industries and grow the number of their legal entities, corporate paralegals have to speed up legal entity management and choose more productive processes.
An effective tech portfolio can bring corporate paralegals to a place where they can have more productivity and start working for the big picture. By leveraging a tech portfolio, legal operations professionals can achieve multiple benefits, including:
- Automating inefficient manual processes,
- Eliminating manual error,
- Improving governance and compliance through automated filings,
- Submitting registration digitally,
- Streamlining corporate legal workflows.
How to Choose Legal Technology
An effective legal tech stack is an end-to-end solution that makes legal workflow efficient and helps legal operations professionals to be as effective as possible. When evaluating a tech stack, legal teams need to account for critical information to ensure functionality and availability for integration with broader corporate processes.
Functionality of Legal Toolkit
A functional tech stack takes legal professionals out of spreadsheets and helps them ensure regulatory compliance. Such software should enable legal ops to automate filings and assist them with important reminders about each of multiple legal entities in the corporate structure.
An effective legal technology portfolio should include virtual minute book functionality and eSignature capabilities, eliminating the need for making physical copies or couriering them for signature. Legal operations professionals would also benefit from having a document generation function in their stack, streamlining the legal work through auto-populated templates.
Availability of Audit Trails
The importance of having audit trail functionality in legal software cannot be overestimated. An audit trail maintains a record of user activities within the system and can assist in detecting security violations, process flaws, or performance problems.
A tech stack with audit trail functionality provides a database transcript of all moves, edits, and changes in corporate documentation. It shows who opened which document, when and with which access rights, covering all aspects of legal entity management, making it an indispensable tool for internal audit teams and legal ops.
Working in Both Windows and Mac Worlds
Last but not least, legal professionals need technology solutions working effectively both with Windows and Mac platforms. While the legal industry is predominantly based on Windows, many corporate legal clients in other sectors, like healthcare or hospitality, can be primarily Mac users.
The most effective legal software like Athennian can work effectively on both Windows and Mac, ensuring compatibility with any modern web browser. It enables legal professionals to access key data on any platform and effectively interact with clients, partners and shareholders.
The Key Role of Entity Management Software in Legal Ops Toolkit
According to industry discussions, legal entity management software should take a key role in any legal toolkit. In addition to the corporate subsidiary management function, such software can help automate contract work and streamline acquisitions and is critical for audits and tracking finances, among other multiple applications.
Speeds Up Contract Work
The most common question many legal ops involved in contract management have to answer each day is what is the legal entity generating the particular contract.
When corporate paralegals have to answer this question hundreds of times on a daily basis, they can be literally overwhelmed. In this situation, the legal team can greatly benefit from integrating their contract management system with legal entity management and have the necessary data at their fingertips.
Critical for Merger and Acquisitions
Today, most startup businesses face several scenarios, including IPO, merger and acquisition or death. From the start, such companies may have only 5-10 entities, but when the company is IPOed, their in-house team could greatly benefit if they had effective entity management software already in place.
A legal software system exchanges data with merger and acquisition deal desk managers providing entity information, directors and stockholders information and other critical data. Besides, there are many other legal operations in a startup environment that can be addressed by the legal entity management system from the very beginning to ensure efficiency and instant scalability.
Want to learn more about leveraging a legal operations tech stack? Listen to Jennifer McCarron (Legal Operations, Netflix) discuss the critical components with Athennian's Kyle Marks, Carl Morrison (Legal Operations, The Cosmopolitan) and Tom Stephenson (Legal Operations, Credit Karma) on CLOC talk.