Technology research house Gartner Inc. is now covering corporate legal matters such as document management, e-billing and matter management and tracking of outside counsel, to be led by compliance and governance expert John Wheeler.
Those fields, along with business process management, now live under an umbrella that Gartner calls enterprise legal management. ELM is a $150 million to $200 million market, Wheeler estimated. The estimate compares to the e-discovery market, which Gartner this summer said is $1 billion and growing.
"Gartner recognized a significant uptick in client interest for the use of integrated legal management software applications to streamline their legal operations. Based on client feedback, there is a greater demand for legal information throughout the enterprise, from the board of directors to the business units that corporate legal departments serve. In addition, legal is viewed in many organizations as the last frontier for achieving greater efficiencies and reduction in spending," Wheeler stated in an email interview with Legal affiliate Law Technology News.
"My initial research priority is to provide our readership with a deeper understanding of the ELM software market for large, corporate legal departments. Then, I will explore ways that companies can integrate ELM into the larger risk and compliance management framework to strengthen their corporate governance practices. One topic that is generating a good deal of interest right now is legal entity management," Wheeler noted.
"As companies become more automated and disciplined through the use of ELM technology, I anticipate ELM software providers will begin to augment their offerings through greater integration with governance, risk and compliance technology. The ELM software providers will begin to focus specifically on what Gartner calls legal GRC," Wheeler continued.
Companies such as Bridgeway Software Inc., Datacert Inc., Mitratech Holdings Inc. and Thomson Reuters Corp. are some of the top players in ELM. Asked how their field may evolve in the next few years, "Legal GRC focuses on policies and controls that arise from regulations and contractual requirements, and on managing the enterprise's relationships with government supervisory entities. Legal GRC mandates also may arise from legal enforcement actions, such as consent decrees, deferred prosecution agreements and nonprosecution agreements, or from corporate integrity agreements. Examples of the management, measurement and monitoring of legally required controls include employee attestation to the enterprise's code of conduct, record retention policies and automated fraud monitoring," Wheeler stated.
In addition to the responsibility of managing documents, e-billing matters and outside counsel, it's equally important for corporate legal departments to be involved in business processes, Wheeler said. "[Business process management] employs methods, policies, metrics, management practices and software tools to continuously optimize the organization's processes to improve business performance against goals and objectives," he explained. "In an enterprise legal management context, BPM includes the automation of manual processes through methods such as workflow and collaboration functionality. Examples include the distribution and approval of legal documents, assignment of tasks and legal resources, as well as the monitoring of alternative fee agreements."
Wheeler published an introductory report, Technology Overview for Enterprise Legal Management, in September.
Evan Koblentz is a reporter for Law Technology News, a Legal affiliate based in New York.