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In Practice Sidebar: How foundational questions help the legal department develop its technology roadmap

· Technology roadmap,Workflow,Strategy,In-House Counsel,Legal Operations

What key questions do legal departments need to ask themselves to be able to create their own technology roadmap?

A legal technology roadmap is the document that outlines how technology investments support the strategic objectives of a corporate legal department in its support of the company’s business priorities.

In advance of developing a roadmap, however, the head of legal operations and her team must ask and answer a series of questions to ensure that legal tech investments are made to advance strategic goals. The answers to the questions will be unique to each legal department, of course; but the overarching benefit of undertaking this Q&A exercise will allow the department to uncover and refine the best way in which new technology can help it control costs, increase operational efficiencies, and optimize how the legal team spends its time.

Although not exhaustive, below are foundational questions that will help spark the necessary conversations and research crucial to developing a roadmap that persuades, informs, and guides.

Strategic questions:

  • What are the company’s strategic priorities for the next three to five years?
  • What are the legal department’s strategic priorities in support of the company’s priorities?

Operational questions:

  • What work is currently being done by which members of the legal department?
  • What workflow processes are currently in place?
  • What workflow processes need a revamp or tweaking?
  • Can the company’s existing technology be used to optimize the department’s processes?
  • Can the legal department’s existing tech tools be improved to optimize workflows?
  • What work currently done by the legal team can be completed by the business units via self-service and automated systems?
  • What tech investments should we consider in the short term? The long-term?
  • What resources — budget and expertise — are needed in the short term? In the long-term?

For more on the importance of utilizing a tech roadmap, my In Practice interview with Connie Brenton, of NetApp.

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