LexisNexis CounselLink Publishes Corporate Legal Maturity Model to Help Departments Improve Operational Efficiency

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Previous Study Identifies Areas of Opportunity; New Legal Department Maturity Model Maps Steps to Improve

legal department maturity model, LexisNexis CounselLink Maturity Model

The Legal Department Maturity Model spans five stages -- from manual processes to predictive results.

What is the likely outcome of matters that we have in our portfolio, based on similar matters we’ve seen historically?

According to a recent survey published by LexisNexis® Legal & Professional, a leading provider of content and technology solutions, operational efficiency is a top priority for in-house attorneys in 2015. However, most corporate legal departments readily admit their organizations are in the early stages of process and technology maturation. To facilitate an organizational analysis and develop a practical plan for improvement, the LexisNexis CounselLink® team today unveiled a new legal department maturity model.

The maturity model covers six corporate legal imperatives including: knowledge management, communication, matter governance, budget oversight, and pricing and vendor management. The model provides a framework for corporate legal departments to benchmark their own operations. The analysis is provided in terms of technology, process and analytics in order to identify tangible steps for improving operational maturity and ultimately driving better legal outcomes.

“The Office of General Counsel faces ever increasing pressures to prove value – and tie legal decisions to the overall performance of the business,” said Kris Satkunas, director of Strategic Consulting at the CounselLink business and coauthor of the associated report. “The legal department maturity model will provide corporate legal departments with benchmarks as to where it stands in the maturity cycle and what needs to be done to move it up the curve.”

Five Stages of Corporate Legal Maturity

The model provides five levels of corporate legal maturity, including:

  •     Manual Processes. This represents the lowest level on the spectrum and generally indicates a legal department has only the most basic levels of efficiency in place. For example it has little to no defined technology, manual one-off processes or basic spreadsheets for tracking. According to the study, roughly 30 percent of corporate legal departments are still operating in this environment.
  •     Deployed Technology. This is the next level on the curve and nearly half of corporate legal departments place themselves in this stage, according to the survey. This indicates the legal department has some technology systems in place such as standard reporting, billing guidelines, matter journals and documents and an RFP processes.
  •     Integrated Information. This level in the maturity cycle shows the legal department has some more sophisticated levels of efficiency in place such as: legal dashboards, matter calendars, comprehensive matter visibility and aggregated budgets for example. About one-fifth of corporate legal departments place their organization in this stage.
  •     Data Driven Decisions. This stage means the legal department is on its way to reaching full maturity and indicates the legal department has some of the following key efficiencies in place: analytics, standard key performance indicators (KPIs), matter project plans, variance analytics and law department scorecards. Legal departments that identified with this stage of maturity range in the low single digits.
  •     Predictive Results. This level indicates the corporate legal department has reached full maturity. Based on the survey findings, about 5% of legal departments fall into this level. At this stage, corporate legal teams typically have the following efficiencies in place: scenario modeling, real-time alerts, collaborative decisions, data-driven forecasts, law firm optimization and win-win pricing.

“For all the success that corporate legal has experience in the last few years for driving down cost and improving performance, data shows corporate legal departments still have a tremendous opportunity ahead of them,” added Satkunas. “Ultimately, the more mature a legal department becomes, the better it is able to answer important questions such as: What is the likely outcome of matters that we have in our portfolio, based on similar matters we’ve seen historically?”

The CounselLink team has published a white paper on the topic titled, Legal Department Optimization: Leveraging a Maturity Model to Achieve Operational Excellence, is freely available for download with registration here: http://bit.ly/legal-maturity-model

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About LexisNexis Legal & Professional:
LexisNexis Legal & Professional is a leading global provider of content and technology solutions that enable professionals in legal, corporate, tax, government, academic and non-profit organizations to make informed decisions and achieve better business outcomes. As a digital pioneer, the company was the first to bring legal and business information online with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. Today, LexisNexis Legal & Professional harnesses leading-edge technology and world-class content to help professionals work in faster, easier and more effective ways. Through close collaboration with its customers, the company ensures organizations can leverage its solutions to reduce risk, improve productivity, increase profitability and grow their business. LexisNexis Legal & Professional, which serves customers in more than 175 countries with 10,000 employees worldwide, is part of RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.

LexisNexis helps professionals at law firms and legal departments of all sizes manage the business element of their practice or departments with innovative software and mobile solutions for customer relationship management, competitive intelligence gathering and assessment, time and billing management, matter management, client analysis, legal holds and more.

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