Technology: the benefits, risks, trends and metrics to track – an interview with Mark Yacano, global practice leader in managed legal services at Major, Lindsey & Africa

Technology: the benefits, risks, trends and metrics to track – an interview with Mark Yacano, global practice leader in managed legal services at Major, Lindsey & Africa

Mark Yacano, global practice leader in managed legal services at global legal recruiting and advisory firm, Major, Lindsey & Africa, discusses the use of technology in legal departments following the recent publication of The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) and MLA 2019 Global Legal Department Benchmarking Report.

What are the most common types of technology being used in legal departments?

According to the survey results, the top categories of technology being used by legal departments are:

• electronic signature

• contract management

• document management

• matter management/e-billing

What are the key benefits technology can bring to a legal department?

Technology can vastly improve turnaround time and increase legal department bandwidth. When a legal department adopts technology that accelerates the process of negotiating, drafting and signing contracts, it leads to a shorter sales cycle and a faster revenue generation cycle. Deploying workflow and automation tools that allow the business units to create certain low-risk documents without legal review provides the department with more bandwidth to handle more complex and higher risk work in a timely manner. In turn, increased bandwidth increases coverage and client satisfaction.

Are there any risks to a legal department that doesn’t adopt legal technology?

Most definitely. Technology not only creates efficiencies—it helps mitigate risk. Having the ability to track contractual obligations reduces the potential for inadvertent breaches, termination or renewal. Electronic signature ensures that agreements get properly executed, and ebilling/matter management is integral to spend management and cost control. Similarly, the use of good technology to preserve and collect electronically stored information (ESI) reduces the risk of spoliation and other discovery sanctions.

What are the most important technology-related metrics a legal department should be tracking and why?

This is a difficult question to answer because the metrics depend on the type of technology platform. That said, here are some of the things we look at when evaluating the benefits of deployed technology:

• has turnaround time improved?

• has the sales cycle gotten shorter?

• has reliance on outside counse

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About the author:

Louisa leads marketing for the in-house legal community at LexisNexis. She joined the dedicated in-house team at LexisNexis four years ago and has a passion for driving and facilitating initiatives which are customer-focused at their heart. Her vision is to support in-house counsel succeed in their fast-evolving role based on deep insight, data analysis and best practice gathered across the in-house community.

Prior to her in-house focused role, Louisa led the marketing for the bar and mid-market private practice sectors as well as product marketing lead for LexisPSL – LexisNexis’ cloud based, practical guidance and legal research software solution.

She brings 20 years’ marketing experience both client and agency side, specialising in B2B marketing in the Legal, TMT (Telco, Media and Technology) and Financial Services industries. In both South Africa, Europe and the UK.

Louisa is also an active member on the LexisNexis Gender Equality Matters (GEM) steering committee and is involved with the Families at LexisNexis Group which brings together, supports and lobbies for change those with an interest in balancing the challenges of work and family.