As corporate legal departments continue to face internal pressures to reduce risk, become more efficient and cost-effective, and overall improve their partnership potential with the rest of the organization, many are turning to different tools and processes to get this done.
One of the most effective, it seems, is document automation, which can greatly reduce the time, personnel and cost involved with a company’s contracting process.
“Document automation is critical to companies as they strive to remain competitive,” said Adrian D’Amico, an attorney and information technology consultant for FedEx Ground. “It greatly improves efficiency within the company’s legal department and also improves the satisfaction level of the other departments who are now getting their work done quicker.”
D’Amico, who managed FedEx Ground’s implementation and expansion of its document automation system, will speak on this subject during an hour-long webinar, held at Noon, EST, on April 25. The webinar, entitled, Legal Department Meet Document Automation, is sponsored by Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute and Contract Express, and will focus specifically on contract automation within corporate legal departments. In addition to D’Amico, speakers Jamison Barr, General Counsel of software company Jenzabar, and Andy Wishart, the Global Head of Contract Express at Thomson Reuters, will detail some of the benefits and challenges to implementing a document automation system in your company.
One of the those benefits, D’Amico says, is the large amount of previously painstaking and labor-intensive work in the contracting process that will simply vanish into the automated system. “At FedEx Ground, we now have a wide array of contracts and contracting tasks that don’t even have to go through legal anymore because other departments using our automated system are doing these things on their own,” he explains, adding that his “clients” — those other departments in the company that use to have to wait for legal to create and execute individual contracts — are quite happy. “They see their business getting done much more quickly.”
In addition, he notes, the automation process ensure compliance because the contract templates, the language and the process is all standard, making human error much less likely. “And with our system, our users can do everything from creating simple contracts from templates to more complex tasks like tracking costs or generating alerts for sign-off notifications.”
Of course, implementing an automated contracting and documentation system isn’t without challenges, D’Amico says. Key among them: Working through the IT approval process to get the system’s software on board with what’s used in the rest of the company. D’Amico, who luckily not only has a legal background but is experienced in IT, said because document automation was such an unknown, it was difficult to figure out what category of software of what project type to assign to the new system.
Fortunately, D’Amico was able to usher the project through to implementation, but he suggests companies engage someone with an IT background to be on the team. “It definitely helps if you have someone that can speak the IT language, not just the legal language,” he adds.
Again, D’Amico says he hopes attendees of the webinar come away with an understanding of how important it is to have a document automation system within their corporate legal department. “In today’s legal environment, a tool such as this, which increases efficiency and improves client satisfaction, is vital to remain competitive.”
Registration is still open for the Legal Department Meet Document Automation webinar held at Noon, EST, on April 25.