What Now? The Next Phase of Legal Business in a Post-Pandemic World

By Judi Crimmins

Our world has dramatically changed in the last few months, and the legal industry has had to adapt more quickly than it has ever had to do before. But while some changes are violent interruptions to everyday life, others present unique opportunities to gather insights and shift the paradigm in which we operate.

While the scale of the economic decline caused by the pandemic is yet to be fully understood, its severity is demonstrated by the extreme uncertainty as to how or when it will end. As legal teams navigate the new normal, corporate leadership is increasingly shifting expectations of its legal department to do more with less.

GCs, CLOs and other leaders have to deal with a returning workforce affected in a multitude of ways, and this makes it more important than ever to reevaluate department fundamentals and identify opportunities for innovation.

The Unique Challenges of Legal Labor Allocation

Bluntly put, legal departments are not immune to the headcount and growth constraints currently imposed on most functions within an organization.

Adapting to the new normal calls for a new way of thinking about resource allocation and resource utilization. While hiring additional legal employees provides the most predictable quality and allows a department to maintain control of work in-house, it might be difficult to justify the additional headcount and hefty price tag in an era of tightening budgets. Moreover, when looking to outsource their legal work, companies have many choices that provide rapid time-to-value services, which are often cheaper than hiring additional staff.

However, the risk is lower control and questions about quality of service.

It’s clear that simply shuffling dollars and tasks among people working within the legal department or to those outside of it isn’t moving the needle when it comes to delivering the same quality of legal services under greater financial oversight.

A Smarter Service Delivery Model

Fortunately, solutions exist that can be rapidly implemented at scale and speed. When used smartly, legal technology has a potent role to play in shaping a modern operating model for the department.

AI and automation solutions bring the benefits of slashing costs while increasing the speed and accuracy of core legal functions. An additional benefit is that LegalTech keeps high-value legal work in-house. Senior lawyers have more direct control, continue to grow their institutional knowledge, and have customization options over the performance and quality of services delivered to the business.

Using an AI-powered LegalTech solution to perform time-consuming tasks is the smartest path to gaining more insight into the way the legal department operates. And with more time and insight available, legal departments can operate as strategic business partners and improve organizational competitiveness.

The Next Phase of Legal Leadership

There’s a reason people often resist change; there’s a comfort in what we know. But the greatest organizational inertia comes from the failure to adapt. Without recourse to new knowledge, new experiences, and the exceptional opportunities they unlock we run the risk of succumbing to stagnation.

Bold leadership requires vision. It requires the courage to move outside of the transactional space and into a transformational place that focuses on effective strategies for growth. With that in mind, does it make sense to outsource high-value legal work to outside counsel during a downturn? What about developing cost effective and sustainable in-house resources to handle it?

What’s the best way to allocate rote legal work? Do external, third-party ALSPs make sense, or are there other solutions that can keep such work in-house?

These are just some of the questions that Tech-Enabled Insourcing For A Post-Pandemic World touches on. The new eBook by LawGeex provides an outline of the forces pushing legal departments worldwide to reposition themselves as strategic business partners, and gives practical tips and guidance on how to achieve this by providing a smarter service delivery model.

The next phase of legal business calls for a transformation of the way legal works. Adapting core business functions while driving innovation for durable, breakthrough results might be the biggest leadership imperative yet.

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Judi Crimmins is a regulatory compliance specialist and the Director of Global Marketing at LawGeex. Previous companies include BSI Group and British Water. Judi holds a Master of Laws (LLM) from the University of London. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA): How Legal Teams Can Mitigate Risks

By Judi Crimmins

On March 18, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was passed and signed into U.S. law. Effective April 1st, the Act affords American employees relief in the form of paid sick leave benefits related to COVID-19.

The FFCRA applies to businesses and tax-exempt employers with fewer than 500 employees, and includes two paid leave components: the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA), and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA).

The former expands the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide paid leave to eligible employees who cannot work because they must care for a minor, or because their school or daycare is not available due to the coronavirus public health emergency. The first two weeks of EFMLEA are unpaid, but after that employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid leave (subject to pay caps).

Under the EPSLA, employees are entitled to two weeks paid sick leave at their regular pay rate (subject to caps) for those who are sick, quarantined, seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. Importantly, the EPSLA provisions must be granted in addition to any other paid leave benefits the employer already provides.

As the impact of coronavirus deepens, it poses a significant challenge to legal teams who will be affected by absences under the new Act.

General counsel and other legal leaders must be prepared for the consequences of sudden and high employee absenteeism. The inevitable staff outages mean that many teams are at imminent risk of failing to deliver their services or compromising on its quality. It is critical to have a legal continuity (LC) plan that identifies any risks to the business and implements safeguards and procedures to mitigate them (e.g., documenting policies and backing up institutional knowledge).

While the disruptive impact of the pandemic is expected to weigh significantly on legal teams worldwide, a robust LC strategy will reduce the risks associated with absences under the new laws and ensure the smooth continuity of operations.

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The U.S. government and other international jurisdictions publish daily updates with the latest statistics and advice. It is important to continue to monitor the latest guidelines as they are likely to evolve substantially over the coming weeks.

This blog is for information only and should not be considered as legal advice. Organizations with questions about the applicability of the FFCRA to their specific circumstances should consult with a legal, employment, or tax professional.

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Judi Crimmins is a regulatory compliance specialist and the Director of Global Marketing at LawGeex. Previous companies include BSI Group and British Water. Judi holds a Master of Laws (LLM) from the University of London. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Six Ways To Ensure Employee Wellbeing During The Coronavirus Crisis

By Judi Crimmins

Central to Legal Continuity is the need to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff while balancing the core functions of the business. Companies around the globe have taken unprecedented action in rolling out mandatory remote work for their employees, and the consequences of balancing demanding schedules and the impacts to immediate family can lead to significantly high stress levels.

Legal leaders should demonstrate a personal commitment to the wellbeing of their teams and ramp-up efforts to promote it within their private or corporate practice. It can make all the difference in improving productivity with a commensurate impact on maintaining efficiency and bottom line results.

One of the challenges in trying to foster a culture that supports legal continuity and employee wellbeing is that there are a number of different factors at play. It is important to give Legal professionals a range of support options and benefits in order to meet their varied needs; including consideration of physical factors, practical concerns, and psychological support. Now is a good time to remind staff of employee assistance programs (“EAPs”) if available.

To ensure that lawyers and paralegals remain motivated during the COVID-19 crisis, here are six simple ways to improve their wellbeing.

1. Get Talking

With the pandemic turning many Legal professionals into de facto remote workers, daily communication may be more important than ever.

Contrary to popular belief, studies suggest that over 60% of attorneys are actually introverts. That said, some of the challenges facing all Legal staff while working remotely include loneliness and disconnection, and it is therefore critical to maintain structured connections with colleagues by recreating social contact. Using apps like Zoom, Hangouts, or Slack will be a lifeline for lawyers during the current crisis, when life and working patterns are changing exponentially. Prioritizing remote team collaboration to brainstorm and execute shared tasks can make all the difference to feeling part of the workplace community from afar.

In addition, leaders should take the time to discuss with their teams how they would like to run supervision, check-ins, and sign-offs remotely. It is important to reach out at this time and ask how Legal professionals are feeling and what support they might need to ensure successful legal continuity.

2. Recognize Good Work

Recognizing good work is critical to ensuring that Legal professionals stay motivated. While recognition might seem like an obvious booster, it is often overlooked and relegated to the lowest rung on the ladder during a crisis. However, it is precisely during times of uncertainty that lawyers will need and appreciate it the most, and should therefore be given special emphasis.

Implementing this could be as easy as a quick call, or sending an email to acknowledge good work and saying thank you for going the extra mile. It could also be done by providing tailored incentives, or simply recognizing when Legal staff have done a good job during a meeting. However leaders choose to do it, it will make a huge difference to team morale and drive.

3. Establish a Routine

Productivity is a series of habits and rituals that take patience and consistent discipline to build until they become ‘routine’. For lawyers used to busy office or court environments, in particular, working from home everyday is a new concept that might take a lot of trial and error before finding a routine that works.

Leaders should encourage lawyers and paralegals to establish a structured daily routine and set clear tasks for the day. Good places to start are preparing an office space at home, getting an early start, prioritizing tasks, and scheduling uninterrupted deep work. All these are conducive to an efficient remote work environment and will contribute to the smooth continuity of operations.

4. Encourage Regular Breaks

It might be easy for Legal professionals to forget to take breaks when working remotely. The penchant to ‘power through breaks’ might be exacerbated by a demanding workload and current governmental restrictions to self-isolate at home. But this is counterintuitive, as lawyers are more likely to suffer a ‘slump’, become stressed, and lose focus or motivation.

Legal leaders should encourage teams to get plenty of rest. Taking regular breaks can help regulate goals, improve mental sharpness, retain information, and make connections. Adjusting to a new reality and work-life balance will take its toll on the mental and physical health of many Legal professionals, and the onus is on leaders to take a greater interest and investment in their wellbeing at this time.

5. Embrace Technology

There’s more to a successful setup than a consistent Wi-Fi connection. The marketplace offers many tools and platforms to streamline core legal functions and these can make a big difference to legal continuity during the coronavirus crisis. Legal technology brings the benefits of cutting costs, increasing speed and accuracy, and keeping high-value legal work in-house.

Legal automation can be a safety net during this period. For example, AI can help identify and highlight unacceptable clauses that might be missed in everyday business contracts by someone who is not functioning at their usual level of productivity. Moreover, inevitable workforce absences during the pandemic due to illness or bereavement mean that many companies are at imminent risk of failing to deliver their services or compromising on its quality. The advanced capabilities of LegalTech solutions can ensure that companies deliver the best possible legal services during this time and will safeguard their reputation.

6. Allow Flexible Hours

Continuity through crisis necessitates a new way of thinking. While the Legal profession is renowned for working outside regular office hours, leaders should consider offering greater flexibility so that lawyers and paralegals can fit their commitments around the needs of their families.

Flexible hours can result in greater efficiency and connectivity among colleagues than ever before. An obvious benefit for Legal professionals is the opportunity to extend the regular business hours, which makes for a more satisfied global client base. This could include flexible start and finish times for parents, or allowing employees to work in ‘bursts’ of several hours at a time before taking extended breaks to rest and do chores, then reconvening in the evening.

Legal continuity planning must account for managing employee wellbeing. Creating a culture of health takes passionate and persistent leadership, and introducing steps to provide ongoing support and flexibility will pay multiple dividends in helping legal teams succeed during the current crisis.

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Judi Crimmins is a regulatory compliance specialist and the Director of Global Marketing at LawGeex. Previous companies include BSI Group and British Water. Judi holds a Master of Laws (LLM) from the University of London. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Winning In LegalTech: Nature Or Nurture – The DNA Debate

By Leesa Lee

Recent months have seen well-publicized developments in the legal industry as Axiom abandoned its IPO plans, and Atrium shut down. Meanwhile, investment continues to pour into LegalTech, and companies such as Linksquares, EverLaw and Eigen score large investment rounds to continue product development and expansion.

What gives? Are there commonalities between these two groups?

The answer is, yes. Companies in the first group built their offerings mostly around talent (i.e., lawyers), whereas those in the second are much more heavily based on technology (i.e., automation and AI).

In general, any LegalTech startup’s closing is bad news. Our industry is still in its early stages, and we need success stories to demonstrate our value in the marketplace and show potential customers that there’s a better way to do things.

At LawGeex, we’ve been doing this for six years. We understand how hard it is to build a successful business in this market, and we have a lot of respect for any venture trying to bring innovation to the legal industry.

It’s worth asking a few key questions to predict the next wave of LegalTech winners:

What is the startup’s DNA? Startups that are “a better horse and carriage” (i.e., talent-based) are not as impactful as those that offer innovative technology-based solutions. Core offerings that are based on true innovation lead to fundamental improvements in efficiency, economics, and quality.

In the startup world, the term “DNA” is used to assess the strength of teams and their experience developing core intellectual property. Because the legal market already has a developed talent pool of lawyers as well as established large players experienced in capitalizing on this talent (i.e., law firms), a startup with a talent-based DNA will find it hard to sustain a competitive edge over time – even if it has a strong foundation and is backed by some of the leading brands in the VC industry.

Can companies quantify their expected results? Startups need to demonstrate quantifiable benefits to potential customers. It also helps when the legal tech benefits other groups within customers’ companies, not just their legal teams, even if it’s just the perception of extended benefits. This makes the investment easier to justify, and legal teams can potentially get the other departments to chip in budget to fund the tech. For example, when the technology helps the legal team itself run more smoothly, other departments may not perceive the benefit to the company.

How well funded is the startup? Creating a whole new class of technology is a double-edged sword. Pioneers get to own the category, but customer acquisition is more difficult because legal teams and law firms won’t have line items in their existing budgets for the new category. Therefore, startups need to have adequate funding to both educate the market (i.e., create the category) and market their products to ensure that they have traction before expanding their go-to-market efforts too quickly.

How difficult is the change management to deploy the new solution? Horror stories abound as to LegalTech being deployed and then either not used or, worse, abandoned because of resistance from lawyers. Zero or minimal change management is key.

How crowded is the space? Expect to see consolidation in the contract management systems space given the number of entrants: currently 170 vendors, according to Gartner. The same goes for eDiscovery.

Investors are bullish on LegalTech, and with good reason, but answering these questions and evaluating a startup’s DNA is key to picking the winners.

Leesa Lee is the VP of Marketing at LawGeex. With over 20 years of experience in corporate strategy, product marketing, and demand generation, Leesa has built the marketing departments at successful software startups across multiple industries. Leesa holds an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley.

Staying Ahead in a Post-GDPR World: Why Data Processing Agreements Are Critical For Business

By Judi Crimmins

The GDPR is the most significant data protection shake-up in 25 years. What has become evident in the almost 2 years since it came into force, however, is that many businesses are still struggling to understand and implement it.

Many of the headlines have been security-focused or riddled with consternation and the burden for businesses. But there have been benefits, too.

The Impact of Data Protection Laws

The new regulations have had a monumental effect on the awareness and tackling of privacy issues in both the public eye and senior management level.

The GDPR and California’s landmark privacy law, CCPA, can function as a roadmap for businesses to establish a strong data governance program. Critically, they bring regulation into the modern age with respect to the evolving digital economy and trigger exciting new opportunities and long-term benefits for businesses.

These benefits include greater agility and innovation. According to Cisco’s latest data privacy study, 42% of the companies surveyed said that meeting the GDPR is helping them to broaden innovation thanks to the right data controls being in place. Other benefits are reduced reputational risk and improved cyber resilience.

Companies are beginning to understanding that good information handling equals good business sense, and it’s difficult to argue with that.

The Dawn of Data Processing Agreements

One of the consequences of GDPR is that companies are undertaking a significant redevelopment of their data handling capabilities in order to comply. Businesses are increasingly looking at the way that they handle the personal data of their customers and putting an action plan in place to safeguard their privacy.

The change to the law regarding data controllers and data processors, in particular, has significant implications for businesses. Under the GDPR, it is essential for organizations involved in the processing of personal data to determine whether they are acting as a data controller or as a data processor in respect of the processing.

This is especially important in the case of a data breach, where it is necessary to determine which entity has overarching responsibility for data protection.

Data Processing Agreements (DPAs) are designed to satisfy that obligation, and failure to have one in place is a breach of the law under GDPR.

DPAs Are Critical For Business Deals

The DPA regulates the scope and purpose of data processing, and specifies the rights and obligations of your organization and your data processors.

It provides the peace of mind and assurance that your data processor, and any third party subcontractor they might use, perform adequate due diligence to protect the privacy of the personal data you have been entrusted with.

These contracts were simpler in the days before GDPR, and even disregarded in some cases. However, the DPA is a critical component of business deals under the new data protection laws and can no longer be ignored.

Compliance starts with the right foundation. Investing in a sustained data management and governance program that includes a solution for DPAs provides businesses with a competitive advantage. Essentially, it enables them to position themselves as innovators and market leaders in a post-GDPR world.

For more information, check out The Essential Guide to Data Processing Agreements, which provides all the information in one convenient place.

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Judi Crimmins is a regulatory compliance specialist and the Director of Global Marketing at LawGeex. Previous companies include BSI Group and British Water. Judi holds a Master of Laws (LLM) from the University of London. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

LawGeex Is Gearing Up For Legalweek 2020

There is nothing quite like an exciting conference that leaves even the most jaded legal professional thrilled about the industry all over again.

LawGeex is ringing in the new year with an exciting program of events. Keeping up with the latest trends and innovations is a monumental task, which is why these events are so integral for spreading new information via seminars, workshops, and unparalleled opportunities to network with peers and experts.

One of the hallmarks of our calendar, Legalweek kicks-off in NYC February 3-6.

Legalweek is a major expo in which the legal industry gathers to explore the business and regulatory trends, technology and talent drivers impacting the industry. Easily drawing over 10,000 attendees each year, Legalweek features workshops, networking events, and three conferences designed to address key issues at a functional level: LegalTech, LegalCIO, and Legal Business Strategy.

For everyone in attendance, Legalweek presents a unique opportunity to forge connections, create opportunities, and learn from one another’s experience.

We’ve prepared some truly superb swag and special edition, customized content for Legalweek. We hope you’ll join us. Our booth tends to get pretty busy, so if you’d like to demo our award-winning platform and find out how you can achieve a risk-free, rapid deployment of LawGeex to accelerate deal closure, click here.

Oh, yet to secure a ticket?

Don’t worry. We’re delighted to offer a number of complimentary tickets that grant you free access to the expo. Contact us for more information.

Metrics that Matter: Using Legal Data to Make Informed Business Decisions

By Nicole Arbiv

The legal industry is evolving at breakneck speed. Legal departments are expected to run as a business and drive cost-effective processes that benefit the entire organization. General counsels too are required to invest in the operational support of the department, and legal operations has emerged as the glue that holds the various functions and practice areas together.

There’s no doubt that effective legal ops allows in-house counsel to focus on high value legal activities. And at the heart of this, is the need to define clear goals and KPIs around these activities to measure success. So, how do you do that?

Poor Data Visibility Hampers Performance

When it comes to contracting, legal is typically seen as a blocker instead of a trusted advisor to the business. However, by leveraging data and metrics around turnaround time and developing SLAs with internal clients, legal can support the business and help drive revenue by jump starting a new customer relationship.

The problem is that even in legal departments with mature legal ops that collect data around contract review, it’s rare to have visibility into this data.

Unless lawyers are manually extracting and tracking the different legal concepts they’re reviewing as part of the routine negotiation process, legal departments simply don’t have the relevant data and insight into the trends driving their contract review process. It is typically based on intuition, and occasional roundtable discussions between the lawyers on the team.

Contract Automation Enables Better Business

The good news is that a Contract Review Automation (CRA) platform can provide this data. It drills down to the source. It provides insight into how a contract measures up against a company’s legal policy and guidelines.

Legal teams can use this data to find interesting trends over time. For example, it can be used to establish if there is a specific legal concept that is always missing from a contract. Conversely, it can offer insight into the potential risks and implications of concepts that probably shouldn’t be there in the first place.

This data is extremely powerful, as it enables in-house counsel to make strategic and informed decisions that can help position them as trusted advisors to the business. By turning data into tactical and actionable metrics, a business can use it to drive revenue and transform their bottom line.


Nicole Arbiv is the Director of Customer Success at LawGeex. Leveraging her legal ops background, she helps our customers drive efficiency in their contract review processes. Nicole holds a BA in Business Administration from the University of Washington and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the State of New York. Previous companies include PwC and HP.

2019 Legal Tech Buyer’s Guide

Is your head spinning from all the choices in legal tech? Are you wondering how to choose the best solution for your team?

You’re not alone.

Fortunately, LawGeex is here to help sort things out. Yup, it’s time for this year’s Legal Tech Buyer’s Guide, fully updated from 2018 and showcasing more than 80 key legal-tech solutions across 12 categories. The guide has become the indispensable compendium for everything from Contract Review Automation to Contract Lifecycle Management, and from Extraction to eDiscovery.

This year, we’ve made it more accessible by switching to an online format. And to make it even more useful, we’ve added a new section called Resources which includes various templates and examples. These currently include a six-step guide on how to evaluate and buy tech solutions and a template for your firm’s legal tech roadmap, and we’ll be adding even more.

We’d love to know what you think and what other resources you would find useful.
You’re welcome to contact us at buyersguide@lawgeex.com

A Primer on Using Artificial Intelligence in the Legal Profession

In this article in the JOLT Digest, Lauri Donahue, LawGeex’s Director of Legal Content, provides A Primer on Using Artificial Intelligence in the Legal Profession.

This useful and accessible article addresses questions such as how AI works, what it can do, how lawyers are using AI, and how it will affect the legal profession.

Read more

CLOC State of the Industry Survey

The Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) just published its annual State of the Industry Survey of in-house corporate legal departments. This report provides valuable insights into legal spend and technology adoption. Here are some highlights that we found particularly interesting.

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