The advent of digital has meant we’ve grown accustomed to instant access. We don’t like waiting for things anymore, and if it takes more than a couple of clicks to complete a task, we’re likely to lose faith and/or tune out quicker than you can say “the internet has revolutionized the world”.
This isn't just in our personal lives, either. Just as social media has brought people closer together outside of the office, so has technology enhanced our day to day working lives to the point that we get frustrated by outdated processes. As yet another digital-first generation enters workforce in the form of Gen Z, and as millennials take up positions of power, the cries for better, more efficient processes will only grow louder.
The good news is simple: your legal operations and corporate records don't have to be paper-based anymore, which means you can save an awful lot of time, money and other resources. Not only have corporate records been digitized, but automation has come of age and can make legal work more efficient and more streamlined. Better collaboration through cloud-based technology can free your legal team from detailed administration, and give them the time and space to think more strategically about the bigger picture.
The automation revolution in legal tech
So how can the in-house legal team make their expertise more accessible to the business, and deliver it securely and effectively at the point of need? How can they deliver accurate, consistent and swift legal services when the need for contracts, licenses and compliance reports is only getting more urgent and essential, and corporate records more complex?
The legal robots are coming, and the industry in general is welcoming them. Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is defined by Deloitte as “the automation of rules-based processes with software that utilises the user interface and which can run on any software, including web-based applications, ERP systems and mainframe systems.”
The use of cognitive or artificial intelligence technologies such as natural language processing and machine learning can enable more complex automation, while the automation itself often works in the background on virtual machines or is accessed by workers through a command-based interface.
In short, the automation revolution in legal tech is turning corporate records into easily accessible, always-on insights that help to drive business growth, and to make legal teams more efficient and therefore more useful. The AI and its automation is not a physical machine walking around the office; it’s cross-functional and cross-application macros and programs that perform repetitive rules-based tasks.
With 72% of respondents in CLOC’s State of the Industry 2019 survey reporting having a technology roadmap, digitization and automation are clearly taking on an increasing importance in the world of legal tech. In that same survey, more than one-third of companies spent over $750,000 on legal technology in the previous year.
The most commonly used technology in in-house legal departments, according to CLOC, include eBilling systems (78%), contracts management (65%), eSignature solutions (56%), board management systems (54%) and document management solutions (53%). However, only 32% of respondents reported using a compliance or subsidiary management solution for corporate records, so there is still plenty of ground to gain in the automation revolution.
Easing the burden on the General Counsel and legal operations
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in legal departments is still in its early stages, but many see its potential for managing corporate records and are already starting to explore how best to leverage it. AI is seen as a potential way to reduce legal workload, gain more insight and improve performance, helping the General Counsel to scale the in-house legal team resources and make better use of talent.
Delotte asked more than 500 organisations across industries and jurisdictions about their use of automation and AI in-house, and respondents reported a 95% improvement in productivity and significant year-on-year improvement in customer experience. More than 80% of those organizations also indicated a happier workforce once the AI was implemented or scaled.
Automation can help the General Counsel to scale legal operations by:
- Automating the creation and updating of documentation such as contracts
- Custom reporting and insight generation
- Quickly and automatically generate corporate or tax documents from the existing database
- Pushing through workflows by notifying the next responsible person when action needs to be taken
This in turn can ease the burden on employees, helping to make them feel less like they’re drowning in paperwork and requests, and ultimately helping them to feel more engaged.
Today’s compliance software should be built on automation
As legal departments join the 21st century and start to build technological solutions into their workflows and processes, automation becomes an important efficiency factor. While risk managers will want to fully assess and mitigate any potential risks inherent in automation at an organization, the benefits tend to outweigh those risks.
For example, Athennian’s document assembly engine allows the legal operations team to generate any corporate or tax document to a signature-ready state in one click. This is achieved by writing programming language into the organization's Word document templates that then pulls information from the database and presents it in the document according to specifications. This can save paralegals the time and energy of starting from scratch with contracts and form letters, and can help to mitigate the risk of the human eye missing a necessary form field.
Automation exists to streamline operations and to help the General Counsel make the most of the resources at hand - especially when budgets are tight and the future is unknown. The cloud-based Athennian subsidiary management platform has been built to make tracking for legal entities less of a burden, and to enable legal operations management from anywhere in the world at any time - no need to be in the office, surrounded by the filing cabinets.
It’s designed to help you never miss a filing deadline, making it easy to track thousands of filing and compliance events across entities and jurisdictions with automated reminders, email notifications, data reports and more. Automate any corporate document, form or certificate in a single-click using the data you’ve already stored, and manage your templates from one source of truth.
Discover how we can help your team be more efficient and take back control over compliance; book a demo to see how the Athennian subsidiary management platform can help you to scale the legal team through better use of automation.
Athennian.com is the top reviewed legal entity management cloud platform for law firms and in-house corporate teams. Athennian is used by innovative organizations that value modern software with elegant automation and workflows. Integrating entity data management, document assembly, eSign, org charts, and e-file, Athennian is selected by leading law firms and corporate legal and tax teams to scale legal entity governance. Athennian offers rapid migration services for customers from any legacy database including ALF, CorpLink, EnAct, GlobalAct, EnGlobe, FastCompany, Corporate Focus, Blueprint (Diligent Entities), GEMS, hCue, Effacts and more.