Manage Legal Workloads with Contract Request Forms
By Dave Gott & Karen Howe
Dave Gott is a Senior Regional Sales Manager at Contract Logix who talks with customers and prospects daily about their contract management strategies and needs. Karen Howe is a frequent contributor to these blog pages and is the Contract Logix Training Director. This article is a summary of a conversation they had recently regarding a very popular topic these days – digital contract request processes. Here is the play by play, we hope you enjoy it.
Recently I wrote a blog that talked about some of the advantages of using a digital process to manage contract intake called 5 Reasons You Need a Digital Contract Request Process. Dave, I think you wanted to expand on that based on some trends you’ve been seeing?
Yes, I’d like to focus on the impact that using electronic request forms can have on legal department workloads. It’s actually a conversation I’ve been having with a lot of prospects lately when talking about use cases for contract management software. That’s because without an electronic contract request process, that workload is hard to quantify and lacks visibility. It becomes very difficult to understand and manage legal workloads. There might be some tangible outcomes to report, like the number of contracts executed, but often in a legal department there is much more going on in addition to new contracts. I had a customer ask me recently how to illustrate that, yes, we produced 25 new agreements this month, but the bulk of the workload consisted of the 300 questions about existing contracts we received. It was hard to convey the extent of that work in measurable terms. It’s like seeing the tip of the iceberg but missing the mass lurking just below the surface.
Without an electronic contract request process, legal workloads are hard to quantify and lack visibility.
So true. In my blog, I discussed how a contract request process that relies solely on email usually leads to a lot of back and forth due to incomplete or missing information, whereas an electronic process that includes submission forms with clearly defined requirements (that vary based on the request or submission type) can capture exactly what is needed to address those requests. Plus, not having to re-enter data that the requestor or submitter puts into an email also saves time and effort that can be better spent elsewhere. So those are two ways to help manage legal workloads. Are there other benefits you can share with us?
Well, you might not have considered that electronic request forms can also be used to submit the type of legal questions that constitute so much of the workload in the typical legal department. And since every request is captured electronically, you can get a much better picture of the total workload in the form of a reportable, visible item on a dashboard. Managing requests this way also allows you to track turnaround times or other processing metrics. When integrated with your workflow, requests enable participation by end users across the business and can illustrate where bottlenecks might be occurring. All of this improved visibility can lead to an easier and better way to manage legal workloads.
So, as far better ways to manage legal workloads, does anything specific come to mind?
Yes. In addition to simply knowing how many and what types of requests are being submitted, I’m thinking it could foster a more team-based approach. While some tasks may still be assigned to a designated individual, electronic requests for new contracts or legal clarification can all be routed to a legal team queue. If someone is swamped, other team members can help out. This could be especially helpful at the end of a quarter or fiscal year, when a flood of requests or questions may come in.
Anything to lighten the load on any one person and expedite the whole process sounds like a win-win situation. Any last thoughts?
I hear it from our customers and prospects all the time – the need for an efficient way to manage legal workloads is increasingly important because frankly, legal workloads are increasing. If you are trying to get along with outdated, manual methods of handling incoming requests, you are most likely doing more “busy” work than you need to and not seeing the whole picture. This lack of visibility and focus can cost you – literally.
A modern, electronic request process with intelligently structured request forms is going to save you time, effort, and expense by asking the right questions, gathering the right information, and providing accurate data on which to base staffing decisions. It’s another great reason why so many organizations turn to and trust our contract management system.
Interested in seeing how contract management software from Contract Logix can not only help you manage your legal workloads but also streamline and automate your entire CLM process? Schedule a free demo with one of our experts.