As In-House Counsel transitions from legacy to digital setups, they’re often faced with several pain points — one of which being an effective way to manage and analyze contracts. There are huge advantages to moving from manual review to using a tool that instantly analyzes, flags and manages contracts of every type however, getting executive buy-in to onboard these robust tools remains a major hurdle.
While legal teams understand the benefits of investing in an agile tool that can automate the contract process from start to finish, other stakeholders may not always be on the same page.
Yesterday, Ricoh took part in the Canadian Legal Innovation Forum’s webinar on Contract Management: Creation, Automation and Lifecycle Management. The panel was moderated by Lawyer, Corporate Director and Tribunal Judge, Lynne Charbonneau, and surveyed the contract management landscape of four diverse legal voices. During the virtual event, a common theme was the challenge of gaining executive buy-in to bring contract management tools into the workplace. Here's what each panelist had to say:
"I needed to sew the seeds and sell. That had to occur both across the organization and to the internal clients ... When you get to the level of your senior executives, you have your business case but you need more than that: you need your champions. You're fighting for scarce resources and until the problem that you're solving becomes one of the more important problems to be solved in the organization, it's just a good idea." — Mark Le Blanc, General Counsel at TVO
"We have to automate; our clients are demanding it. The way that legal practice has evolved — automation and efficiencies are demanded by our clients and by ourselves to ensure integrity and quality of the ultimate [contract] document."
— Paige Backman, Partner at Aird & Berlis LLP
"The thing that usually gets most people on board is when you point out the technology's ability to control for errors. If you can build a system that works with your internal teams to minimizes errors, the CFO and the General Counsel will see reduced overall risk, and there's a lot of value in that. Software brings a tremendous amount of value to a situation, especially those that can be systematized. Contracts are a great example of an area of law that can be systematized really well, and customized after the fact as needed." — Sean Lynch, Director of Legal and Compliance Solutions, Ricoh eDiscovery
"We saw that there were a lot of hours spent between the legal group and the procurement group with manual touches. We calculated that in the course of a year, there were several thousand touches between us and one of the stakeholder groups. It didn't bode well for things like human error, lost hours spent where we wanted our lawyers to be advising senior executives on substantive matters ... What do those touches look like? Can they be automated? And can we lessen those human errors?" — Brad Chapman, Associate General Counsel at BMO Financial Group