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Multiple forces, from geopolitical change to business model evolution to increasing department digitalization are having an impact on business strategy and operations, and increasing the demands on legal departments today. Facing pressures to reduce risk, improve efficiencies, increase productivity, drive economic growth and enhance the customer experience, the opportunity now exists for legal, risk, regulatory and compliance teams to respond to these forces and reimagine the way in which they deliver services. They can achieve this by modernizing, simplifying and digitalizing their processes and functions, freeing up resources from focus on routine tasks and enabling their teams to focus on value-adding activities.

Welcome to the Future of Legal, a series of articles, publications and podcasts created for in-house legal leaders. Here, we delve deeper into these forces that are having an impact on businesses and the opportunities in-house counsels have to evolve and reimagine their roles and functions for success.

Geopolitics and international developments

Geopolitical and international developments are having a significant impact on the legal function, bringing about increased uncertainty and heightened complexity, but no less need for compliance. This uncertainty is driving businesses to look harder at their own models, supply chains, and the way that they operate as a regional or global business resulting in turn in a greater need for more qualitative legal input into business decisions. The modern legal function has new opportunity to make a difference for their organizations in this environment by developing a holistic view of the landscape and connecting its legal capabilities across borders. 

Digitization

The global economy is increasingly a digital one and businesses are changing in response to digitalization, even while seeking to digitize themselves. There is more data than ever and yet few organizations are fully capitalizing on the opportunities presented by their data. In-house legal teams today are in a unique position to make an impact in response to digitalization both within their departments and for their organizations at large. They need to be able to provide services faster and with heightened accuracy and harness the power of the data their organizations manage. The legal leader that can successfully implement technological solutions that drive efficiency and accuracy of the legal function will free up lawyers to more actively contribute to the business in ways that steer it towards more strategic initiatives.

Changing business models

In an increasingly complex business environment, how are legal departments ensuring they are structured for success? The proliferation of technology and automated solutions along with geopolitical shifts in the business environment is driving business to change how they work. In turn, legal departments not only need to understand and adapt to shifting structures, but also change their own models in ways that allow them to focus more on higher value work and opportunities to drive value to the business.