In-house teams battling efficiency barriers

by |
A recent survey of in-house lawyers has found that in-house teams are struggling to improve their efficiency.

A recent study by LexisNexis, Do More With Less: Australian in-house lawyers’ views on workplace efficiency, found that 84 percent of in-house lawyers think improved efficiency is a priority.  Sixty-six percent of in-house legal teams surveyed consider technological investment to be one of the biggest resources to improve efficiency.

But according to the survey, many in-house legal teams lack the budget to invest in improving their processes. With increasing workloads and the pressure to demonstrate value to their organisations, the need for in-house teams to increase their efficiency has never been higher.

Adrian Goss, Australian Corporate Lawyers Association national president and general counsel at Bauer Media, said while finding the capacity within the team to implement new technologies can be a challenge, securing budget is often the biggest barrier for in-house teams trying to improve efficiency. 

“The value proposition will often be difficult to quantify.  Another challenge is getting the necessary level of attention and engagement from the IT team.  Typically, that team will be focussed on ‘core’ operational issues while general business improvement issues, particularly those for which the benefit is difficult to quantify, will be a lower priority.”

Goss said that there are other strategies teams are using to try to increase their productivity.

“One example is the use of business process engineering to allow teams to re-evaluate the way in which routine matters are handled,” he said.  “Another is more creative partnering with external advisors. For example, some teams are negotiating access to law firm precedent databases as part of their arrangements with law firms.”

Despite alternative solutions, technological advancement can’t be ignored or put into the ‘too hard basket.’ 

“It’s very important for teams to seek technology solutions to improve efficiency,” said Goss.  “Often the cost/benefit of such solutions will not add up, particularly for smaller teams or for solutions requiring significant implementation. However, to continue to deliver value, in-house teams must seek out those solutions for which the cost/benefit does make sense.”