08 Sep ILTACon 2021 – Observations and Recommendations for Law Firms and Corporate Legal Teams
Members of the LegalRM team had the pleasure of attending in person at the ILTA conference this year in Las Vegas. As silver sponsors supporting the ILTA community from near and far, we found the conference to be very educational; it also allowed for ample networking opportunities to reconnect with colleagues we hadn’t seen in many months and to make new acquaintances. Though the in-person attendance was small compared to past years, it afforded an intimate atmosphere to get to know the attendees and to dive deeper into the information governance challenges and opportunities of the law firm and corporate legal space.
It was evident that the difference in levels of IG maturity between law firms and corporate legal is quite vast. On average corporate legal departments appeared more mature in their IG programs compared to law firms. Corporate legal was more agile to adopt change as an opportunity to grow in maturity than law firms.
Corporate law departments have a leg up as they must adhere to regulations, adopt technology more quickly and, embrace the rate of change more swiftly than those of law firms. However, law firms have had to pivot over the last eighteen months due to the pandemic. This has forced them to adopt new technology, new processes, and new ways of thinking to ensure the firm can still service their clients and thrive.
Clients are forcing some of these new adoption opportunities to ensure their needs are being met in the most efficient way to reduce their costs. This puts pressure on IG and technology teams within firms to keep up with the pace of demands and to ensure best practices are set in place. The ancient message about siloed teams and how they need to be woven together to strengthen the services provided to the clients is still resounding. In part, the challenge comes from antiquated practices within firms, inefficiencies in processes, and even in some cases, millennial lawyers proliferating old school legal practices due to the perception of success.
Success comes from being efficient, adopting new ways and tools for completing work, and working together to strengthen your services for your clients. Embracing some simple best practices to improve the management of firm information is another key to that success. Here are just a few of our recommendations to consider.
- Be the bridge between silos of people, practices, and teams to turn information into an asset
- Evaluate client needs/requests as a whole for greater success when implementing solutions
- Develop best practices and policies to bring consistency and efficiencies into the firm
- Adopt an agile approach to bringing in new technology
- Define what tools are approved within the firm and for what purposes
- Be an ambassador of change; change forward not backward!
There are a lot of opportunities for IG growth and maturity within law firms and even in corporate legal departments and our observations were that those challenges weren’t too dissimilar from each other. Scale and complexity, Yes! There is a huge opportunity for firms and corporations to learn from each other to better manage the ever-increasing need to turn their information into assets. ILTA allows that opportunity as do other associations relating to the IG space. It’s going to take more than getting together at a conference once a year to garner and harness that knowledge. It takes connecting year-round to continue to develop from lessons learned and success stories to grow beyond your current state.