As Workloads Mount, Chief Legal Officers Expect to Leverage Digital Technologies and ALSPs More 1
 Following a reported increase in corporate legal workloads driven by COVID-19 disruption (78%), many chief legal officers (CLOs) and their teams plan increased investments in digital technologies (62%) and more than 50% anticipate heightened engagement with alternate legal service providers (ALSPs) for the year ahead, even as legal department budgets decline (46%) or stay flat (25%), according to Deloitte’s “2020 Legal Department COVID-19 survey.”

“It may seem contradictory that in the face of shrinking or stagnant budgets, CLOs plan to invest in advancing technologies and ALSPs, but COVID-19 has not reversed pre-pandemic transformation trends, it instead has accelerated them.  We continue to see CLOs diligently advancing efforts to deliver value in a more efficient manner,” said Lori Lorenzo, managing director at Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP, and research and insights leader of Deloitte’s Chief Legal Officer Program. “As CLOs and legal functions are called upon to advise the enterprise through its recovery, it is important to equip the legal team with tools that enable data-driven insights, heightened collaboration, and allow for faster and more efficient service delivery.”

COVID-19 disruption may drive greater contract lifecycle management (CLM) use
A majority (76%) of respondents expect their organizations’ legal departments to invest in enhancing and transforming CLM in the year ahead. Similarly, respondents plan to leverage CLM solutions to analyze contracts impacted by COVID-19 extensively (17%), somewhat (46%) or starting at some point within the next year (15%).

To identify the impact of disruption in contractual performance in buy-side, sell-side, or debt agreements, respondents had begun analysis of potentially impacted contracts (55%), created a taskforce to assist in analyzing the impact of interruptions (53%) and explored the market for legal technology and/or alternate legal service providers that could help with contract management (30%).

“With so much uncertainty resulting from the pandemic, CLM process enhancements and technology solutions can offer opportunities to create efficiencies in how legal teams locate, review, negotiate, amend and manage contracts,” said Mark Ross, principal, Legal Business Services, Deloitte Tax LLP.  “To achieve these efficiencies, legal functions should consider a re-engineered intelligent CLM process, one that enables a forward-looking view of contracts and allows both the legal function and the business to better leverage the data and insights these solutions can provide.”

Interest in ALSPs growing quickly
While 54% of in-house legal teams at organizations that utilized ALSPs pre-COVID plan to use them more often, 53% of respondents that did not utilize ALSPs pre-COVID have started deploying them or plan to do so.

“Alternative legal service providers have become an important part of the legal industry ecosystem,” said Ashley SmithDeloitte Risk & Financial Advisory managing director, Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP. “For organizations that may not have the budget or appetite to build new in-house capabilities or technology solutions, ALSPs can offer efficiencies via digital innovations, managed services and beyond.”

About the survey
Deloitte’s “2020 Chief Legal Officer” survey was fielded online from July 28 to Aug. 13, 2020, surveying 131 in-house legal professionals — including Chief Legal Officers and senior legal and compliance executives — at organizations spanning industries.

About Deloitte
Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including nearly 90% of the Fortune 500® and more than 7,000 private companies. Our people come together for the greater good and work across the industry sectors that drive and shape today’s marketplace — delivering measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to see challenges as opportunities to transform and thrive, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthier society. Deloitte is proud to be part of the largest global professional services network serving our clients in the markets that are most important to them. Now celebrating 175 years of service, our network of member firms spans more than 150 countries and territories. Learn how Deloitte’s more than 330,000 people worldwide connect for impact at www.deloitte.com.

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