Legal benchmarking: The key to modernization

Insights for legal leaders to build a case for change

For many legal leaders, making the case to modernize their function is often hampered by lack of supporting data or the ability to articulate the current state relative to the market. However, with the right legal benchmarking approach, they can create a compelling business case, garner support, and take legal modernization to the next level.

Why strengthen the legal department strategy

While there is a recognized need for many organizations to improve their legal function in order to provide guidance to growing and increasingly complex businesses, the resources needed for a digital transformation are often just out of reach. In our conversations, we’ve discovered that making the case for change is often hampered by a lack of supporting data or the ability to articulate the current state relative to the market. The organization’s CEO, CFO, and COO may understand the obvious benefits of compliance reporting software, for example. However, as they weigh the legal department’s request against asks from other areas of the business, they lack the applicable information or perspective to be convinced that investment in the legal function could improve department performance.

Three approaches to legal benchmarking

Legal benchmarking is a valuable tool in creating a compelling business case for modernization. Imagine being able to articulate a need and back it up with relevant data rather than just anecdotal rhetoric. For example, “I think we need a contract life cycle management solution. Based on the market data, we know that other firms are either exploring or having achievements by doing XYZ. In addition, when we engage our internal stakeholders, they have expressed business concerns in our ability to execute and provide deals timely and carefully, and this is putting us at a competitive disadvantage, according to those surveyed.”

In our report, we explore two approaches to legal benchmarking that are commonly used to inform legal operations professionals and leadership within their organizations; where they lie along a legal modernization continuum compared to peers; and introduce a third approach, voice of customer (VoC) that focuses on internal observations and performance.

Industry benchmarking

External benchmarking compares metrics and practices from one organization against many others and may be conducted by a third party. In Deloitte’s State of Legal Operations Survey, findings are presented based on survey responses from legal departments across industries and aligned to the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium’s Core 12. These findings consistently highlight the need for legal operations leaders to develop long-term road maps for technology modernization and project management capabilities.

Peer comparative analysis

How does your legal operations team compare to others of similar size or in your specific market? These short, targeted studies focus on a tight grouping of peers with a tailored survey to identify trends, progress, and opportunities. This data helps organizations understand how their legal department stacks up and where investment may be needed.

The voice of customer approach

As legal operations functions are being asked to evolve and become more strategic partners to the business, it is often unclear what that means to internal stakeholders. The voice of customer initiatives can be used to obtain candid, detailed feedback from internal customers in the areas of service delivery, collaboration, efficient use of technology, and satisfaction of outcomes. Well-designed VoC initiatives provide an opportunity for legal operations to promote interaction vs. introspection. Download our report and explore insights you can apply when designing a VoC initiative.

Taking legal modernization to the next level: Tools for building a business case for change

Building your case for change

With the right insights, legal leaders are in a better position to build a case for investing in a modernization program that not only aligns with the business strategy of the enterprise but also delivers on expectations for service excellence, cost efficiency, and resource optimization.

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