How to eliminate wasteful legal processes


Jul 12, 2023

Legal teams are often seen as the blockers when it comes to business progress. They are often caught in time-consuming and inefficient processes, leaving no time to adapt.

To effectively go from the perception of a blocker to an enabler, legal teams must prioritise the elimination of wasteful processes. And it all starts with identifying these processes. 

In this article, we’ll explore methods for eliminating and fixing some of those wasteful processes that are common for legal teams.

Streamline processes and improve collaboration

Effectively streamlining the current status of your legal operations involves challenging the status quo. It’s important first to ask the question: how are the legal team and legal processes integrated with other teams' workflows? What is working? What isn’t working so well? Where are there opportunities for automation? 

Standardising your contract negotiations with legal playbooks
You should also be automating your legal operations as much as possible to ensure that low-complexity legal work is as low-touch as possible. Create legal playbooks to provide guidelines for contract negotiations, setting out your standard position and where you have the flexibility to move from your standard position on both commercial and legal points of contention. Decide, together with your C-suite management, what the minimum level of compliance is that the company needs to keep the company and brand safe, but the company is not held back. 

Standardisation is a valuable tool for any business looking to improve consistency, efficiency, and productivity - eliminating the need for your legal team to create responses from scratch and reducing the amount of time spent per contract negotiation. It also ensures the correct procedures are followed and that legal requirements are consistently met, reducing the risk of errors and legal issues down the line. 

Implementing a legal advice request form
It sounds simple, but having a template form setting out the specific information your legal team needs when the business requests legal advice can really help to improve the clarity and quality of advice from your legal team. The template form can include project deadlines, business colleagues involved, relevant documents, budget requirements, and a description of the legal issue. 

Of course, this shouldn’t take away from the need to have calls to discuss the issue in more detail to avoid misunderstandings or confusion. However, this way, your legal team receives the necessary information in a clear and organised manner upfront - reducing the need for back-and-forth communication or follow-up requests for more information - and which probably means one less unnecessary call or meeting!  Ensuring consistency and efficiency in the communication of legal advice to your business teams. 

Empower other teams

An important part of this is ensuring that you have a legal source of truth, i.e. that you have all legal-related documents in a central location, with a clear structure of responsibility for maintaining and updating those documents. This is the first step to maintaining control of your legal standards at scale. 

Self-service contracting
Empower other teams to generate and sign contracts without intervention from your legal function by implementing pre-approved template contracts, which are designed and quality assured by your legal team and which are kept up-to-date with any legal or regulatory changes. 

For example, use a standardised Employment Agreement; your HR teams can be responsible for (1) filling in the details of the employee, such as their start date, term of employment, and remuneration package, and (2) arranging signing - in the knowledge that the relevant legal protections for your business are safely in place within the template contract. This will reduce the need for individual approval processes for high-volume and simpler contracts, freeing up your legal teams to work on more complex matters. 

The Pocketlaw platform provides these contract management features, allowing your teams to create, store, manage and sign your contracts - all in one place. 

Keep looking forward

Looking forward helps to ensure your legal team is generally organised, proactive, and has enough time to prepare for important tasks, such as complex re-negotiations or implementing any necessary arrangements for large-scale compliance programmes - helping to avoid costly mistakes and maintaining positive relationships both between your business and legal teams and with your suppliers and clients. 

Set reminders for key contract deadlines  
This can include terminations, renewals, payment obligations, physical deliverables, and notice requirements. Missing a deadline can result in penalties, missed opportunities, and legal disputes. By setting reminders, your legal and business teams can avoid these negative consequences, stay on top of contractual obligations and anticipate any actions they need to take such as engaging the relevant business teams and their counterparties to re-negotiate commercial terms. 

Anticipate upcoming legislative changes 
Through continually researching and recording any legal changes that can impact your business, your legal teams can anticipate how these changes will impact your business operations, products, and services - and ensure your business is in compliance with any new legal requirements. 

Your legal teams will be able to prepare and adapt ahead of time and collaborate with your business teams to implement any necessary arrangements - reducing the risk of legal issues, fines, or reputational damage that can arise from non-compliance.  This is particularly important for heavily regulated industries, such as finance or healthcare. 

Anticipating changes in the law can also help to identify potential opportunities for your business, such as taking advantage of any business incentives or getting ahead of industry trends and identifying potential opportunities for growth or expansion. Being ahead of the curve will help your business to be more strategic in decision-making and make more informed decisions to ensure long-term success. 

Invest in your legal tech stack

Assess your current legal tech stack and consider whether it is helping you to streamline your processes or is creating unnecessary barriers. 

Use specifically designed legal technology like Pocketlaw 
Investing in innovative tech is the norm within most areas of a business – sales have a CRM and often a tool like Gong, and marketing has tech that helps them reach their target audience and track impact and effectiveness. Extending this approach to your legal operations will help to maximise value whilst minimising waste, optimising your legal processes, and improving the overall efficiency of your business. 

Pocketlaw provides a solution for your contract storage and management processes, useful dashboards, and automation features. By leveraging Pocketlaw, teams can collaborate more effectively and efficiently with legal, reducing the risk of legal issues, improving accuracy, and reducing costs. 

Please note: Pocketlaw is not a substitute for an attorney or law firm. So, should you have any legal questions on the content of this page, please get in touch with a qualified legal professional.

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