The in-house legal function must transform itself into a technology-led, data-rich provider of legal and risk anticipation services to become an integral part of its organisation's operations, according to a new white paper from international law firm Allen & Overy.
In "The future of the in-house legal function", Jonathan Brayne, partner and chairman of Fuse, A&O's tech innovation space, outlines the transformation challenge that needs to be addressed over the next decade. The paper also examines how legal functions should respond to the forces that are disrupting and reshaping their traditional operating model. Commenting on the paper, Mr Brayne said “The legal market is approaching a tipping point. With issues such as cost pressures, advances in technology and regulatory overload all combining to present legal market participants with choices they can no longer put off.” Cost pressures, regulatory overload, the challenges of scale and global reach, advances in technology, diversification of providers and the workplace expectations of a new generation of lawyers entering the profession are combining to present the in-house legal function with choices that they can no longer defer or avoid. How general counsel and their leadership teams respond to these transformational challenges over the next decade will determine the future of the in-house legal function.
Tackling “exciting future”
In this analysis, the white paper offers an assessment of the impact of the current and emerging developments that are transforming the legal market and shares a perspective on how the in-house legal function can best position itself to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead. In addition, the authors propose practical ways in which legal functions will in the future innovate to deliver the business-as-usual elements of their service with less direct lawyer intervention, so as to enable lawyers to focus on value added elements. Mr Brayne explained, “Over the next few years, in-house legal functions will need to adapt to pressures in the market. This paper will offer a tool against which in-house legal functions can challenge themselves and ask difficult questions as they tackle that exciting future.” The white paper can be read in full here.