2020 Changed the Technology Game — Here’s What Corporate Legal Teams Can Do About It

Man with glasses sitting in front of a teleconference in a dimly lit home library.

From social distancing and remote work to handling official COVID policies, 2020 brought significant challenges and changes to corporate legal teams. And for many of them, technology has played a central role in adapting to these new conditions. Here’s how your team can make the best of it in 2021 — and beyond.

Lesson learned: Technology is more vital than ever before

During the pandemic, many organizations had to shift gears in response to work-from-home mandates, including huge moves toward cloud-based technology. (Even change-resistant law firms made the jump!) Meanwhile, companies that were already equipped with these tools were able to make the transition to working from home much more easily.

Regardless, organizations now rely much more heavily on tools for communication, coordination, and collaboration. Video conferencing and real-time messaging platforms have become staple technologies, enabling legal teams stay connected with each other and the rest of the business more efficiently than email and listservs.

New challenge: Streamlining the digital workplace securely

Security and compliance have been a perennial concern of corporate legal departments, and 2020 was a big wake-up call for many organizations.

Some teams were stuck with legacy systems that left their dispersed teams searching for workarounds, while others deployed new technology solutions on the fly (without the usual due diligence). But all that comes at a cost.

In addition to difficulties like data fragmentation and poor integrations between platforms, ad hoc solutions often introduce much riskier problems, including security and compliance issues. To succeed in the coming years, organizations must take steps to ensure their teams can stay productive without sacrificing security.

Success strategy: Tackle tech with a people-first plan

Combining the human and technological parts of your team effectively might be challenging, but the results are worth it. Here are a few ways you can invest in technology that benefits your people and your business.

1. Commit to the cloud

Even when we’re able to “return to normal,” it’s likely that the workplace we’ve always known will look a bit different. Remote work options and flexible scheduling are likely to be a permanent fixture for many companies, which means the ability to work fluidly in or out of the office will remain vital.

In addition to making remote work possible, true cloud solutions can help legal teams stay productive at any time, and from anywhere, while integrating seamlessly with the platforms they already know and love.

2. Create your single source of truth

For many organizations, documents and data are stored across hundreds of devices and services, which not only makes it difficult for legal teams to work effectively and efficiently, but also introduces significant risk to your organization.

Cloud-based platforms — including document management systems (DMS) — make it easier to build a single source of truth that provides legal teams access to all the information they need to work and collaborate efficiently.

3. Embrace automation

The exceptional skills and expertise of your in-house counsel are a key strategic resource if used effectively. For low-value tasks that don’t require a human touch, automation can free up your team to focus on the critical work that only they can do.

Help your team thrive in 2021

The legal department’s relationship with technology has evolved drastically in the last year — but it’s not the whole picture.

In the must-read white paper, Thriving in a Post-2020 Workplace: How Corporate Legal Departments Can Leverage Lessons Learned to Succeed in 2021, NetDocuments uncovers the unique challenges presently facing in-house legal teams, so you’ll be better equipped to create effective strategies and help your organization thrive in the coming year.

Download your copy.