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The Future of How Legal Work Gets Done

7 October 2019

Legal functions everywhere are under the pump to do more with less. In fact, according to Gartner, 85% of legal decisions in the business go unsupported. This is resulting in 3 in 5 people in the business saying they don’t get the legal support they need and 75% of people also saying when they do engage Legal, they don’t get value out of the engagement.

When you look behind the data, we see a few things at play (it certainly doesn’t mean that our lawyers are poor), but it really comes down to the fact that most legal functions don’t have a well-defined “service catalogue” for the business to know how and when to engage Legal vs other resources to leverage to get the answers they need. Most Legal toolkits look much like a law firm:

Lawyer-Client interaction

This approach is not scalable, making the core challenge this: It is impossible for a legal team of any size to reach the +80% of employees who make decisions that impact legal risk every day.

As such, progressive Legal functions are expanding their toolkit to support legal work across five channels.


List of Legal Functions

Core Legal Team

Dedicated, technology enabled, in-house team focused on your comparative advantage to provide “strategic insight”. The in-house legal team is uniquely positioned to provide the best advice to the business as they understand:

  1. the industry,
  2. the regulatory environment(s) in which the organisation operates,
  3. the strategy of the business,
  4. the risk appetite of the organisation,
  5. the people and culture.

At the intersection of the above factors, an in-house lawyer is incredibly well positioned to help create competitive advantage for the organisation and the nature of work the in-house Legal team should be doing is here.

Strategic Secondment

Dynamic resources that adapt legal team capability and capacity to meet needs of the business. The most progressive legal functions allocate a percentage of the staffing budget to a rolling seconded headcount that they change as different needs arise in the business. This approach requires a partnership with a New Law provider (e.g., Plexus Engage) that understands your business and can bring in great, commercial lawyers across a range of topics and seniority. This approach not only gives you a more agile team, but also protects your Core Team from getting pulled out of their strategic work.

Automated Legal Services

For all the low risk, low value work, progressive Legal functions codify legal decision making by automating this work to allow the business to self-serve their most used contracts and advice through Automated Self-Service Apps. These apps can also include “risk triggers” that route “edge cases” that present riskier scenarios to legal (and/or others) for review.

There are two types of Self-Service Apps:

  • Bespoke Apps – These apps generate your own contracts and advice based on your existing templates and playbooks.
  • Best Practice Apps – These apps generate best practice contracts and advice that are created and maintained by a Law Firm. These can be quickly deployed and ensure your precedents are always up to date with the latest regulations.

Self-Service Apps can include automation of:

  • Non-Disclosure agreements
  • Supplier agreements
  • Employment agreements
  • Commercial agreements
  • Partnership agreements
  • Leases
  • Independent contractor advice
  • Data Privacy
  • Influencer Agreements
  • Product Disclosure Statements

Plexus can build Bespoke Apps to automate your agreements in less than two weeks, or, have partnered with KPMG law to provide off the shelf Best Practice Apps for a myriad of agreements that you can start using immediately.

Productised Legal Services

Whereas Automated Legal Services are automated advice and agreements supported by your team, Productised Legal Services are supported by a third party.

These services are particularly applicable to tasks that are not core to your business and/or infrequent enough that your team does not have the capacity to become experts.

As such a Productised Legal Service provides a Self-Service App for the business to use, but is also back by outside lawyers with expertise in the area of the service. This provides the best of both worlds: the business can self-service advice and agreements, but also get support and advice from a lawyer for more complex scenarios. For example, Plexus’ Promotions Service allows Marketing to use an App to build a promotion and get automated advice and upon completion, the App generates the Promotions T&Cs, permits, etc and routes to a lawyer with expertise in promotions law to quickly review and consult the business.

Other examples include:

  • Marketing Collateral Review
  • Leases
  • Promotions terms and conditions

Law Firms

Build and manage a small cost-effective provider network using standardised processes limited to specific work – that which is complex, not frequent and requires expertise that doesn’t make sense to have in-house, such as M&A, regulatory, Tax and litigation.