Legal Department Data Eco System

Security driven Legal and Legislative compliance defined by business owners for data consumption,
within and outside the organization

Written by Knowledge Team, posted on February 27, 2020.

Data driven business process for different legal functions to work in symphony. Data will be available as service across the law firm, to be consumed by various actors and players.

LEGAL DEPARTMENT DATA ECO SYSTEM

Having disconnected systems/procedures in the law firms means that organizations do not have a holistic view of their legal and data operations. Creating unnecessary barriers while working in any firm can lead to non-compliance and decreased efficiency. This is where a legal department data ecosystem can help.

A legal data ecosystem provides a platform to integrate data and transform business process into timely information that can be used for legal functions like decision making and legal research. Ideally, a legal ecosystem improves collaboration among members of the Team; on Case File level, Practice Area, across the entire law firm business functions, and collaboration with outside service providers across geographies. Coordinated processes and workflows will boosts the performance of different constituents of overall law firm to better meet its goals

BUILDING A LEGAL DATA ECO SYSTEM

A legal data ecosystem helps to address the significant challenges of running the legal works and securely providing the ways to carry out key functions. While deciding to start the ecosystem journey in law firm, consider the following questions.
  • What are the most crucial issues that must be addressed? This can range from knowledge retention to creating litigation support team
  • How can the total effort be divided into phases and what is the goal of each phase?
  • What are the communities involved in the legal eco system?
  • What are the strategic objectives or focus of the ecosystem and how will they be accomplished?
  • How do we ensure to meet interdepartmental needs?
  • What will the ecosystem look like when it is completed?
The next step is to look at the processes that the legal and compliance teams will use to accomplish their objectives. These processes must be clearly documented, validated and streamlined using the right approach.
Build the team
Identify the internal resources who know the business best and those who will have the necessary experience and insight to hone the existing processes and decide how other factors such as legal research, vendor selection and technology can support the ecosystem building.

WHY CREATE A LEGAL DATA ECO SYSTEM?

Data ecosystems are especially useful for capturing data to produce useful insights. Some of the law firms create their own ecosystem, with help from Legal Technology, to collect, store, analyze and act upon the data.
Data obtained through maintaining legal ecosystem will have prominent features.
  • Wholesome – All necessary data elements can be stored and kept in place to easily process and carry out legal activities and business process.
  • Consistent –Data or information can be made available in required formats. The data types, field lengths, field compositions, etc. should be made more consistent according to data standards, called as Data Contract.
  • Authentication – Data collected in legal department ecosystem must be from a valid and authentic source.
  • Accuracy – The law firm has to verify the truthfulness of the day and mandate that all data element values must be correct and reflect the real world accurately.
  • Security –A perfect data ecosystem can serve as a good solution to store the documents securely. Advisable to look at Right Management, Master Data Management along with security policies

INSIGHTFUL TAKEAWAYS

Some of the key benefits that an ecosystem of solutions and processes can offer:
  • Maximizing the Value of Legal Finance
    A legal ecosystem following a streamlined process, reduces tracking and administrative work, thereby freeing legal teams to work on legal matters. With the advent of legal data ecosystem, many departments in law firms are able to do more with the same resource pool, or even reduced resources. This leads to financial benefits, with full compliance to industry regulations and legislations.
  • Helps To Plan Ahead
    Having a legal data ecosystem helps to detect patterns of data and identify bad patterns if any and predict outcomes that requires legal functions to develop a proactive and phased approach. Planning in advance for improving SOP increases data accuracy across the business.
  • Gaining more control
    When legal department operations are carefully examined, they lack a truly holistic view or consistent control over the legal landscape. A legal ecosystem can provide the necessary clarity and controls. It increases security by ensuring that users have access only to the information needed to perform their tasks. There will also exist an interdependency among the departments which are previously unknown and are revelated with ecosystem is implemented.
  • Keeping up with the business
    Legal work is a series of connected events, processes and tasks. Hence it is important to leverage solutions that support all aspects of a law firm for multiple practice areas. A legal department ecosystem can handle complex and critical law firm workflow functions within meaningful timelines which will have a direct influence on the business value.

LEGAL ECOSYSTEM SUPPORTS GROWTH

The way that law firms have produced and consumed data has changed with the advent of new technologies. Data in law firms has become a tradable and valuable good and firms are finding ways to use to their competitive advantage. Data Ecosystems, helps various departments and communities interact with each other to exchange, produce and consume data. The ecosystem platform provides an environment for creating, managing and sustaining data sharing initiatives. Building the objective platform takes time, planning and efforts. The Legal Tech’s impact can be felt by lawyers, in house counsels, librarians, KM leaders in the areas ranging from legal research, document bundle and document automation. The end result will be close to utopia with benefits to both the legal department and the company as a whole.
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