November 27, 2023
Legal operations
Reading Time
5 minutes

Webinar Recap: How to Handle Data in Your Legal Team

In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, the ability to capture, analyse and report on operational data has become essential.

However, many in-house legal teams continue to face significant challenges in collecting and leveraging the key metrics required to efficiently operate, make informed decisions and meaningfully report on progress towards strategic objectives.

TLB’s latest in-depth webinar, in partnership with leading legal workspace provider LawVu, featured presentations from legal experts David Lancelot and Electra Japonas, providing invaluable insights into how legal functions can evolve their approach and transform into truly data-driven operations of the future.

Legal data capture and reporting

  • Manually capturing data, including surveys and external benchmarking, is time-consuming and limits the ability to provide real-time data to business partners. 
  • Rapid innovation in legal tech has enabled real-time data capture and analysis for legal matters, improving efficiency and impact. 
  • In the future, legal teams will be able to easily access and analyse real-time data on matter risk profiles and value, empowering informed decision-making and collaboration.

David began by outlining the long-standing issues legal has faced in going beyond basic spend and activity tracking. Manual, spreadsheet-based data collection remains common due to a lack of integrated systems designed specifically for legal's needs.

David believes that, by harnessing data within their functions and reporting in real-time, lawyers and legal ops professionals can expand their influence beyond legal and play a more significant role in driving overall business strategy.

Ultimately, David believes that there are many exciting opportunities for legal professionals to contribute to the broader business by embracing data-driven approaches, speaking the language of business, and fostering innovation within the legal function.

Why legal teams lack confidence in tech implementation

  • Legal teams are often overlooked when it comes to technology adoption in businesses, due to a lack of importance placed on data and the legal function's confidence in getting a seat at the table.
  • Implementing legal tech in a traditional legal environment, where tech is often overshadowed by BAU legal work, is a significant challenge.
  • The importance of business readiness for successful technology adoption.

The panellists highlighted the fact that leaders in other departments, such as Sales or HR, proactively invest in tools like Salesforce or Workday.

However, David noted that this proactive approach to technology adoption isn't always seen when it comes to the first legal hire in a company.

He suggested that the lack of emphasis on data might be a factor, as well as legal professionals tending to prioritise building trust internally and feeling that they need to earn the right to ask for a budget for legal technology. 

David and Electra then went onto discuss the cultural reasons behind this. They agreed that there's often a lack of confidence to assert their place at the decision-making table, much like other departments do. 

Therefore, they felt that there is a need for the legal function to take a more proactive role in driving strategy and operations, adopting technology, and establishing best practices, similar to other business units like Marketing, HR, and Sales.

Legal data collection and analysis

  • The importance of focusing on business objectives when creating a legal department dashboard and using data to measure progress towards those objectives.
  • The industry standard metrics for legal department dashboards are often disconnected from the actual work being done by the legal team.

David stressed the importance of taking a purpose-driven approach to data collection and reporting: that it’s not about gathering data indiscriminately, but understanding why the data is collected and how it can drive business goals. 

He explained that the focus should shift from just counting the quantity of work done, such as the number of contracts processed or money spent, to how legal functions contribute to and align with broader business strategies.

But how to go about doing this? 

David suggested that legal professionals should start by considering their organisation's strategic and operational objectives and then determine what kind of reporting would support these goals.

David then went onto discuss the topic of legal reporting, and to explain his belief that the current industry standard metrics, like internal and external spend, revenue, benchmarks, team size, and contract throughput, whilst the most readily accessible to legal teams, are not always the most useful.

He explained that this is because they may not provide a holistic view of the legal function's impact and efficiency, especially when disconnected from the details of the work being performed. 

Using data to improve legal team performance

  • Lawyers shouldn’t have to rely on others to create visually impactful reports.
  • The potential of modern workspace software to provide real-time reporting and analytics.
  • The importance of having a system that can provide out-of-the-box, powerful, and intuitive reporting capabilities.

Drawing on his experiences working for eBay, AWS and others, David stressed the importance of visual, impactful reporting in conveying complex information succinctly, following the example set by successful business leaders who quickly get to the point. 

David also suggested that the legal field is currently going through a transformative phase right now, where they’re able to gather their own data without the support of other teams.

This is made possible by systems that capture information in a user-friendly manner, similar to Workday and Salesforce, which allow users to run reports easily and share them in different formats. 

David felt that this is a game-changing development, because it will allow legal professionals to efficiently gather valuable insights from their data without complex setups or extensive integrations.

LawVu demonstration

  • LawVu provides a centralised contract repository and automated contract management, including version control, approvals, and reporting.
  • Liam demonstrated LawVu's dashboard, which allows in-house legal teams to view and analyse contract data in real-time.

The webinar concluded with a demo of the LawVu platform: the legal workspace for in-house legal teams.

LawVu offers a comprehensive legal workspace where all legal team activities can be managed in one place, including matter management, contract management, spend management, and external expenditure tracking.

This integrated approach allows for centralised data management which provides insights into various aspects of legal operations, such as turnaround times, high-frequency tasks, and risk mitigation.

You can check out LawVu here.

Thanks for reading about our latest webinar!

We really enjoyed this webinar session with LawVu, with some great insights into how in-house legal teams can leverage data and reporting, to improve their operations, better support business objectives, and more effectively partner with other areas of the company.

You can view our upcoming webinars here, and we hope to see you at our next one!

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