Technology Rapidly Changes the Way Lawyers Work
2 December 2010
The Argyle Chief Legal Officer Leadership Forum in Chicago brought together over 150 global chief legal officers to discuss the challenges and issues that general counsels face. There were a number of speakers, panel discussions and breakout sessions focused on topics ranging from reducing costs and mitigating risk to tracking the legal impact of technology and social media.
While there, we had the pleasure of introducing Charles Wunsch, the general counsel and corporate secretary of Sprint Nextel. His presentation — "Legal Issue Spotting in a Changing World" — was a thought-provoking look at how rapid technological change has created new issues for legal departments. Here are a few of his key points:
- Technology has compressed time and created new expectations on transactional speed. Lawyers have less time to think and tighter deadlines to meet. This can, unfortunately, result in errors being made, deadlines being missed and data being overlooked. GCs need better time-saving management tools so that they have time to analyze the issues and make better recommendations.
- Technology has undermined some of the hidden assumptions in the law. Many of the laws in place today were created based on employees being together in one location and documents being housed in one place. In today’s world, offices are dispersed geographically and employees work remotely, making it harder to manage and collect information needed to effectively manage timetables and legal requirements.
- Technology has produced more options for handling documents — email, mobile devices, thumb drives, and laptops to name a few — and in the process made it more difficult for lawyers to find and leverage document knowledge and best practices.
While technology has created a host of new legal issues and management challenges, it also presents new opportunities for lawyers to speed their work and keep up with the information explosion. For example, a legal document repository that is a single, searchable database for templates, past reference and similar cases, would add tremendous efficiency to the corporate counsel team, especially in areas like contract management, regulatory filings and Board of Directors communication.
Our newest offering, Intralinks for Legal Management, is a robust repository with legal workflow tools that can also be used to manage case management, collaboration and communication. It resolves many of the challenges that Charles discussed. We discussed the solutions with a number of chief legal officers in Chicago. Intralinks now looks forward to working with them and other GCs in solving their pain points.