funding and budgeting
funding and budgeting ()

Budget and time limitations often inhibit technology adoption at legal departments, a significant amount of which still use manual tools such as Excel spreadsheets for project management. But this is far less the case at large, well-funded corporations, where the benefits of implementing in-house technology far outweigh costs. Oftentimes, however, implementing in-house technology at such companies requires a dedicated and hands-on manager at the helm.

For example, Jennifer McCarron, technology program manager at Cisco, told Legaltech News that, as leveraging machine learning to automate a host of legal tasks requires significant financial and personnel investments, such technology only provides the most value for its cost when deployed on the sort of large-scale projects common at “larger, behemoth” organizations.

Still, for those at large corporations, funding for legal technology is not always assured—or easy to obtain. Those in charge of funding at such companies have the added responsibility of making the case for legal technology funding—and just as important, overseeing that in-house tech projects are meeting deadlines and proving their worth.

Making this case is a new role for many in-house legal managers, especially general counsel. Julia Chain, managing director and executive vice president at e-discovery services company Millnet, told LTN that in regard to technology, “companies are beginning to embrace change as they see its benefits, particularly to their operational efficiencies, which translate to their bottom lines. Partly, the change has also come about because the role of general counsel has changed beyond recognition.”

Chain, who before joining the e-discovery industry was a general counsel at T-Mobile UK and director of general counsel services at RPC Consulting, explained that today, “with a voice at the executive table, the general counsel is leading a cost-benefit discussion for investments that directly impact risk reduction.”

Indeed, it is hard to understate the effect general counsel and legal operation managers can have on a project by successfully advocating for its financial and operational support.

Take, for example, the knowledge management projects of Ameen Haddad, assistant general counsel at Oracle, who joined Oracle’s legal operations team after serving as a practicing commercial attorney. Having worked on smaller team knowledge management implementations prior to launching a broader department-wide knowledge management platform, Haddad knows firsthand what it takes to scale and launch in-house technology.

“The lesson I learned is that a knowledge management program is far more likely to succeed with senior sponsorship than if it is left to a grassroots movement alone,” he said. Haddad specifically pointed to the support his project garnered from Oracle’s general counsel, Dorian Daley, as well as its vice president of legal operations, Christiane Coats.

“With these two senior Oracle legal sponsors driving and promoting the adoption of a global Oracle legal knowledge management mandate, it has allowed us to create a ‘top notch’ knowledge management program,” he said.

But management’s support is far from unconditional. Backing a legal technology project means being tied to its successes and failures. For many legal operations managers and counsel sponsors of a technology project, that means taking a hands-on approach to its development.

“One of the other things we did was build the ability to track metrics in our knowledge management website,” Coats added. “Using this ability, I have Ameen put out on a quarterly basis or every six months a report showing the usage of the website, its resources, and if we are getting traction with our knowledge management program. Because if you’re going to make the investment of this type, you want to make sure people are using it.”

When implemented well, legal technology can serve not only the needs of in-house attorneys and legal operation staff, but also the broader financial goals of an organization. As Thomson Reuters Legal Tracker’s Dan Bodnar and Rob Gitell wrote in LTN , “For the general counsels who want to be savvier about how they operate, it would be wise to align their departmental goals with those of the overall business.”

“This could go a long way in establishing the department as a legitimate business force, attuned to organizational forward momentum, and one that is not simply a cost center,” they said.

Copyright Legaltech News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Budget and time limitations often inhibit technology adoption at legal departments, a significant amount of which still use manual tools such as Excel spreadsheets for project management. But this is far less the case at large, well-funded corporations, where the benefits of implementing in-house technology far outweigh costs. Oftentimes, however, implementing in-house technology at such companies requires a dedicated and hands-on manager at the helm.

For example, Jennifer McCarron, technology program manager at Cisco, told Legaltech News that, as leveraging machine learning to automate a host of legal tasks requires significant financial and personnel investments, such technology only provides the most value for its cost when deployed on the sort of large-scale projects common at “larger, behemoth” organizations.

Still, for those at large corporations, funding for legal technology is not always assured—or easy to obtain. Those in charge of funding at such companies have the added responsibility of making the case for legal technology funding—and just as important, overseeing that in-house tech projects are meeting deadlines and proving their worth.

Making this case is a new role for many in-house legal managers, especially general counsel. Julia Chain, managing director and executive vice president at e-discovery services company Millnet, told LTN that in regard to technology, “companies are beginning to embrace change as they see its benefits, particularly to their operational efficiencies, which translate to their bottom lines. Partly, the change has also come about because the role of general counsel has changed beyond recognition.”

Chain, who before joining the e-discovery industry was a general counsel at T-Mobile UK and director of general counsel services at RPC Consulting, explained that today, “with a voice at the executive table, the general counsel is leading a cost-benefit discussion for investments that directly impact risk reduction.”

Indeed, it is hard to understate the effect general counsel and legal operation managers can have on a project by successfully advocating for its financial and operational support.

Take, for example, the knowledge management projects of Ameen Haddad, assistant general counsel at Oracle, who joined Oracle’s legal operations team after serving as a practicing commercial attorney. Having worked on smaller team knowledge management implementations prior to launching a broader department-wide knowledge management platform, Haddad knows firsthand what it takes to scale and launch in-house technology.

“The lesson I learned is that a knowledge management program is far more likely to succeed with senior sponsorship than if it is left to a grassroots movement alone,” he said. Haddad specifically pointed to the support his project garnered from Oracle’s general counsel, Dorian Daley, as well as its vice president of legal operations, Christiane Coats.

“With these two senior Oracle legal sponsors driving and promoting the adoption of a global Oracle legal knowledge management mandate, it has allowed us to create a ‘top notch’ knowledge management program,” he said.

But management’s support is far from unconditional. Backing a legal technology project means being tied to its successes and failures. For many legal operations managers and counsel sponsors of a technology project, that means taking a hands-on approach to its development.

“One of the other things we did was build the ability to track metrics in our knowledge management website,” Coats added. “Using this ability, I have Ameen put out on a quarterly basis or every six months a report showing the usage of the website, its resources, and if we are getting traction with our knowledge management program. Because if you’re going to make the investment of this type, you want to make sure people are using it.”

When implemented well, legal technology can serve not only the needs of in-house attorneys and legal operation staff, but also the broader financial goals of an organization. As Thomson Reuters Legal Tracker’s Dan Bodnar and Rob Gitell wrote in LTN , “For the general counsels who want to be savvier about how they operate, it would be wise to align their departmental goals with those of the overall business.”

“This could go a long way in establishing the department as a legitimate business force, attuned to organizational forward momentum, and one that is not simply a cost center,” they said.

Copyright Legaltech News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.