Intro to Legal Tech Tools for In-House Counsel
In-house legal departments rely increasingly on technology to help with their work. Legal tech adoption continues to rise—especially after the pandemic. This adoption of legal tech tools should continue to increase over time.
Contract management is often one of the biggest challenges for in-house counsel. It is also one of the areas that can benefit most from legal technology. Contract lifecycle management (CLM) and other tools can streamline how you create, manage, and enforce your legal agreements.
Using the right technology can help your team and the rest of the business focus on revenue generation rather than time-consuming tasks.
Why use of legal tech tools continues to rise
In-house legal departments have historically been resistant to increased automation. They are risk-averse and worry that automation might lead to a lack of control. Before the creation of new legal technology, this was often accurate. Luckily, that is no longer the case.
With the rise of high-quality contract lifecycle management software and other key legal tools that streamline contracting, in-house lawyers are increasingly seeing the benefits of legal tech tools. Automation is key to improving reliability and reducing the risk of litigation.
Templatized agreements and modern acceptance methods are more enforceable and reduce costs. Legal research and e-discovery tools make it easier to move cases forward. Video conferencing makes remote meetings and work effective and efficient.
Corporations and other businesses continue to find ways to streamline their systems and reduce the number of workers they hire. This is true in legal departments as well. Automation is the future of in-house legal work, and can be handled appropriately by the right software.
Types of legal tech used by in-house counsel
As the use of legal tech tools continues to rise, so does the number of available tech options. Many of these technologies help automate your systems and standardize your agreements. Others streamline the discovery process and make remote work more possible.
A workflow designer is a self-serve tool that lets your legal team build and launch contract generation and approval processes within minutes. The right tool works immediately out of the box without requiring long implementation times or technical expertise.
A workflow designer allows your in-house lawyers to:
- Set up a centralized location for any contracting requests
- Use company paper or third-party paper
- Use templates and tagged fields to create workflows
- Add conditional contract clauses and conditional approvers when needed
- Manage compliance with regulations and internal policies
- Fine-tune approval routing workflows
Legal research software
Few teams still use stacks of legal books for their research. Legal research software is now an integral part of how in-house counsel teams operate. They are able to research cases, search for relevant information, and even Shepardize cases quickly and conveniently.
Legal research software gives legal teams access to:
- Up-to-date case law
- Federal and state regulations
- International law
- Treatises, law review articles, and other scholarly documents
- Practical law tools like briefs and forms
Clickwrap agreements to capture acceptance
Once you’ve created your workflows and contracts you need an easy and effective way for users to sign them. Clickwrap agreements are a modern legal tech tool that helps your team do just that.
A clickwrap agreement is an electronic signature that requires a user to click a box or “I agree” to accept the contract. The act of clicking replaces the need for a physical or separate digital signature. They are the best way for businesses to limit risk without impacting the customer experience or conversion rates.
Clickwrap agreements are commonly used for:
- Any no-negotiation high-volume agreement
- Log-in and sign-up pages
- Checkout flows
- Updates to terms and conditions
Clickwraps are legally enforceable and easy to use. In-house legal teams find them invaluable in streamlining their systems, especially when paired with other legal tools to ensure enforceability.
E-discovery, also known as electronic discovery, is the process of collecting, identifying, and producing electronically stored documents for the purpose of discovery. These documents are necessary to prepare for litigation, research cases, and prevent legal risk.
The sheer volume of electronic materials is usually very high. This makes e-discovery software a critical tool for legal teams. It streamlines how these documents are stored, sorted, and analyzed.
A digital contract repository
A digital contract repository lets your team capture and secure agreements instantly. It also reduces risk and automates your processes in multiple ways. The right choice is intelligent and intuitive, with no training required to learn it.
A digital contract repository centralizes your agreements. Too many departments rely on outdated storage methods like email, cloud storage, or even physical filing cabinets. This makes it easy to become disorganized or lose critical contracts. Instead, a digital repository makes storing, organizing, and finding agreements easy—even when handling millions of separate contracts.
Repositories also give you access to contract metadata, meaning you can organize and analyze information stored in your contracts. Now you can easily know the answers to questions like:
- What are our contractual obligations?
- When is the contract effective?
- When does this contract renew?
- How is it renewed?
Contract lifecycle management software
The most significant shift in in-house counsel software is the rise of CLM software. Digital contracting connects data, processes, and people to make contracting faster and more efficient.
Over the years, many other departments have utilized customer relationship management software, but legal has always been behind. It was challenging to find software that could handle the complexities of contracts, which can vary a lot and are often hard to understand.
Modern CLMs like Ironclad provide tools—including those listed above and many more—that streamline how you handle agreements. It is designed for a modern company that needs easy-to-use but highly effective software.
Video conferencing tools
Video conferencing is an important tool in the modern workplace. This is no less true for in-house legal teams. They need this technology to conduct remote meetings without lengthy and costly travel.
Video conferencing tools are also useful for remote work. Attorneys can continue to do their jobs and manage projects from home or on the go. This provides your team flexibility in how they manage projects, handle contracts, and communicate together as a team.
Make your systems more effective
Finding the best legal tech tools may seem challenging. But the right tools can make all the difference in how effectively you work. CLM lets you store your agreements properly, create templates, and even design easy-to-use clickwrap agreements. E-discovery tools make it easy to prepare for litigation and video conferencing improves communication, even when working remotely.
As legal tech adoption continues to grow, you should choose effective software that will do the job well. This means you can make your systems more effective and focus more on revenue-generating activities.