I missed last class because I was in back-to-back meetings discussing the operations – both intra-department and intra-company – of the Legal Department of the construction company at which I work. One of the topics that we kept circling back to involved digital transformation: how can we update the old-school ways of saving legal data in such a way that preserves knowledge for future generations of this legal team.
The advancements of digital technologies are, in short, complicated when intermixed with the legal and construction industries. Sticking just with just the legal industry in this blogpost, digital technologies have certainly disrupted some aspects of the legal industry. For example, JPMorgan Chase uses tech to save 360,000 hours of annual work by lawyers and loan officers. So, digital technologies have not necessarily disrupted the operations of in-house legal departments; rather, they have posed new opportunities to reduce spend on outside counsel and to preserve knowledge internally. Said differently, digital technologies have challenged in-house legal departments to advance their uses of such.
I expect this course to help me manage the organizational changes required to harness the power of technology in my Legal Department. I hope to actively integrate the lessons I’m learning in class with my job duties, which include upgrading our Legal Department data management from two separate network hard drives (regionally segregated between NYC/CT and MA/ME/DC/USVI) and figuring out a way to preserve the data produced hourly in such a way that helps preserve knowledge for future generations of this Legal Department. I want to learn how to select the right technologies and uses of such to go about this digital upgrade and to implement them in such a way that there is buy-in across all of the generations that make up the Legal Department. I want to do this all while balancing the fact that some aspects of legal data saving are required to be old-school (e.g., sometimes we really do need that scanned signature document saved on file). I understand that this will take experimentation, management of risk tolerance, and an overall adjustment of departmental culture towards of data management strategy. The good news: coming out of two days of operations meetings, everyone is on board with the very real fact that there needs to be a better way we manage knowledge and data within the department since one team member (me!) will be gone this May and another (the CLO) plans to retire within five years.
I’m excited to read our course textbook and understand the thoughts of managers at companies, such as Walmart, Google, and Salesforce, and their concept of “digital maturity.” I want to help my legal department “be digital.” And I can’t think of a better class to help get me on my way!