Intelligent work in legal departments, redefined
More and more, corporate legal departments are feeling pressure from their organizations’ top management to undertake new processes and utilize innovative technology to improve the department’s efficiency and demonstrate its strong value proposition to the organization.
Too often, however, department lawyers may not fully grasp the capabilities of the older, legacy tech tools they already have, or understand all the components of any newly adopted technology. And certainly, finding ways to actively integrate and collaborate with these disparate technologies can be greatly frustrating.
That’s why it has become so important in this drive to innovate for legal departments to have not just the right technology, but also the right central technology platform that will seamlessly enable all the department’s legacy technology and any newly adopted technology to work together.
For many legal technology users, this search for the right central component has brought them to HighQ from Thomson Reuters, which has acted as the crucial underpinning in the technology stacks of many law departments and their outside law firms. In-house counsel often follow the technological lead of their outside firms, many of whom have been able to show great improvements in speed and efficiency with HighQ.
"In HighQ, we have a foundational layer—the platform layer—that really acts as the hub in a hub-and-spoke model,” says Rob MacAdam, head of digital products at Ashurst, a multi-national law firm. Last year, the firm launched Ashurst Advance, a new tech-driven unit that uses HighQ to organize and drive its innovation.
“Fortunately, I stepped into a firm that is hungry to do more,” MacAdam explains. “And we are using HighQ technology to bridge that gap between where we were and where we want to be.”
Key to that evolution is that HighQ acts as a platform that pulls all the department’s divergent document and contracting tech tools together. For example, while many legal departments will use Contract Express by Thomson Reuters to manage documents and other tools to analyze contracts, it’s the ability of HighQ to bring it all together that matters most.
“I really count on HighQ as my singular source of truth,” MacAdam says, adding that individually, every tech tool in a legal department’s arsenal has its purpose and utility, but often those tools don’t do everything—and more often than not, they don’t work together as well as department heads would like. “We have a whole practice group that’s focused on change, innovation, and transformation within the firm and for our clients,” he notes, adding that HighQ has been a game changer in this regard.
Take document management, for example. You cannot automate documents in isolation because there is a distinct workflow around that multi-layered process. “If you are using tools to analyze and track documents, you need to wrap a layer of collaboration around that to make document management work so that everyone can come together on it,” MacAdam explains, adding that even when his teams do different things with the documents, they all have the ability to come back together again because HighQ acts as the anchor to the whole process. “It’s just too difficult a task for individuals using separate tools by themselves.”
Bringing the constituent parts together
The real value of HighQ is simply that it solves the basic constituent parts of what lawyers need to do. If you are an in-house counsel working on a legal matter for your organization, for example, it’s important to ask yourself some key questions. What does that work look like? What are the parts of the matter that are most important?
Obviously, all legal matters will involve documents, some level of project management, collaboration and communication, and knowledge management—these are the “constituent parts” of the anatomy of a legal matter. And whatever the legal matter involves—whether it’s litigation, employment, corporate, or banking work—HighQ can impact all those constituent parts. Indeed, while it may appear to be a toolkit to some users, HighQ actually can optimize every aspect of a legal matter and do it in a way that works for each individual lawyer.
Further, HighQ is not opinionated, meaning it’s not stopping the user to say, “This is the way to do project management” or “Collaboration must be done in this way.” Instead, HighQ allows users to work in a way that works best for them, for their teams, and for the entire department.
This collaborative aspect of HighQ is crucial to the success of any legal department’s strategic planning, especially around how the department approaches innovation and its value proposition to the overall organization. Plus, HighQ’s high marks on acceptance across the legal industry means that the outside law firms and alternative legal service providers the department employs are likely HighQ users as well. “HighQ is a trusted platform,” MacAdam notes. “And not just by all major law firms, but by many major clients. They are all HighQ users—it ticks the boxes on security. It’s tried and tested, and it will deliver.”
MacAdam recalls how Ashurst recently ran an internal idea-generation competition as part of the on-boarding process for some new technology tools the firm was purchasing. And while the response was overwhelming, MacAdam says it was most interesting that several suggestions involved how the new technology could be integrated with HighQ and what these new tools could do as part of the HighQ platform.
“I think in terms of adopting HighQ to enhance your digital service, it’s not a challenge,” he says, adding that if anything, HighQ may be a bit underappreciated. Because HighQ’s portfolio of tools and programs—from the abilities of the workflow management tools or the data visualization and task management programs—can act on so many levels to integrate, collaborate, and push efficiency, it can “really blow people’s minds a bit,” he says.
That’s why education and training is such a vital part of the HighQ experience. Because once users understand the full strength of what they have with HighQ, learning what it can do and how it can make the rest of the department’s technology better, it’s not long before the whole legal department is moving toward where its leaders want it to go.
Check out how you can become a data-driven general counsel and lead your team to better streamline collaboration, legal service delivery, legal operations, client engagement, and much more.