Majority of in-house departments not prioritising transformation, study finds

ACC and DISCO survey finds that only 30% of in-house teams are investing significantly in transformation

A majority of in-house legal departments are lagging on transformation initiatives, according to a new survey from the Association of Corporate Counsel and legaltech firm DISCO.

The ‘2022 Trends in Legal Transformation and Technology Report’ revealed that almost three-quarters of legal departments (70%) said they have not prioritised transformation or only dedicated a minimal amount of investment in transforming processes to improve investigations and litigation. Some 70% of those respondents said the reason for not investing in tech is that they are satisfied with the status quo and how work currently gets done.

For the 30% of respondents that are undertaking transformation initiatives, the top priority was information governance and data management (65%), followed by legal project management (47%) and performance analytics and reporting (45%).

Andrew Shimek, chief revenue officer at DISCO, said: “The legal industry continues to make progress towards embracing change, and the study shows that while many agree on the key imperatives, there continue to be discrepancies when it comes to priorities, budgeting and internal decision-making.”

Almost half of legal professionals (45%) say their departments are not prioritising tech-related decisions as they should be doing. Budget issues are also acting as a barrier to transformation, with 35% of respondents who worked in organisations that have prioritised transformation saying that rising costs and lack of budget is a primary concern.

Shimek said: “This research points directly to what we’ve been hearing from our Fortune 100 clients, namely that legal departments are faced with increased pressure to reduce costs and generate greater operational efficiencies.”

The report also underscored that talent and technology in tandem are keys to success, with 76% of respondents saying that getting the the right mix of talent is the most important area for legal departments to meet the demands of their organisations. Just shy of half of organisations that have invested significantly in transformation (48%) say the primary benefit of those initiatives is improving efficiency, followed by cost savings (36%) and data management and security (28%).

Shimek added: “The data makes clear that by prioritising transformation investments and initiatives, it can have a tangible impact on teams and their ability to drive better legal outcomes.”

The survey is based on responses from 278 law department leaders and legal operations professionals in North America and Europe.

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