When you think of enterprise legal management (ELM) systems, you probably think about the ways they can make spend and matter management more efficient. But ELM systems are quickly evolving, becoming more comprehensive all the time, and today they can help optimize contract management, NDA creation and distribution, legal holds, legal service requests and much more.
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CCBJ: Akin Gump has been recognized by the Financial Times for its work in compliance and technology. What led to that recognition?

Thomas McCarthy: Beginning over a decade ago, there was an upswing in enforcement trends by the U.S. government in areas that affected our clients – particularly export controls, sanctions and anticorruption.
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Jonah Paransky of Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions explains how law departments will deliver value with operational rigor. His remarks have been edited for length and style.

CCBJ: How has the corporate legal department’s role expanded beyond its traditional responsibilities?

Jonah Paransky: There are several key items worthy of notice. The first is there’s been a sea change in expectations for how corporate legal departments will operate.
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Late last year, CLOC, the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, released the results of its first annual State of the Industry Survey, looking at such metrics as legal spend; legal department and legal ops headcounts; commonly used e-billing vendors, contract management systems and alternative service providers; and law firm evaluation priorities.

The respondents represented 156 companies in 32 industries, spanning 30 U.S. states and 11 countries. With a median company revenue of $7 billion, they claimed an average external spend of $60 million per company.
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An annotated review of Information Governance Insights columns from 2017

The scope of corporate counsel duties has changed rather rapidly and drastically in the past decade. As companies have quickly begun to digitalize nearly every aspect of their operations, digital information has become the lifeblood and primary asset of nearly all business, in every industry, in every sector. Whether a company makes or sells widgets, transports goods or people, facilitates markets or financial transactions, or provides services of any sort, in the past few years it has also become an information business. The volume of digital information flowing through companies has also grown exponentially in this same short period.
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Data migration has reached a tipping point. The vast majority of technology decision-makers (84 percent) say that their organization invested in cloud services in 2016, according to Insight’s 2017 Intelligent Technology Index report. It noted that “while only 15 percent have fully migrated their corporate application workloads to public clouds, 47 percent are more than halfway implemented in the cloud, with large and medium companies leading the way.”
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Based on my research, during the past five years at least 90 different U.S. organizations published reports based on 190 surveys of U.S. law firms or law departments. That plethora of legal-industry surveys addressed a wide swath of management data. An analysis of the topics finds that compensation, e-discovery and outside counsel cost control were frequent topics, but all manner of other data inquiries were also carried out. The sponsors were primarily publishers, vendors of software or services, bar associations and consultants. At least half a dozen law firms and several trade groups also launched surveys.
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Thomson Reuters recently released the first edition of a new semiannual report focused on legal department operations. It’s called the Legal Tracker LDO Index Benchmarking & Trends Report, which puts it squarely under the company’s e-billing and matter management brand, Legal Tracker. (Tracker evolved out of Thomson’s 2010 acquisition of Serengeti and has become the most widely used e-billing platform in the world.)

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Interview with Alisa McLellan / Inventus

Alisa McLellan, a licensed attorney, is the director of project management for the Chicago and New York offices at Inventus. She and her team work with inside and outside counsel to manage large data-collection projects for both litigation and internal investigations. In this interview, Alisa shares strategies for managing highly effective and cost efficient e-discovery initiatives. Her remarks have been edited for length and style.


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Law departments of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain with data analytics!

Your business is awash in numbers, along with software tools you can use to learn from them. You also have an important cadre of allies: Your key law firms have for years been stockpiling operational numbers about your work that will help you increase and demonstrate your department’s value to your company. But those firms need prodding to encourage them to mine their data for your benefit. That’s why you need to stay informed and involved.

The five imperatives below are the kinds of things you may want to say to your key firms. If you do, this manifesto gives you an easy way to deliver the message.

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