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How to Identify and Mitigate Legal Department Bottlenecks


The interconnected nature of most legal departments means that day-to-day duties must be dispatched quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, bottlenecks can stall progress on pivotal projects, especially if workflow strategies aren’t deployed thoughtfully and strategically.Among the challenges legal departments face, the most prevalent include:

  • Issues with effective communication

  • Difficulty with time management

  • Leveraging employee skill-sets to provide the most benefit to the company

  • Problems exercising full, complete control document content and management

  • Defining ownership and responsibilities related to legal documents and processes

The increasing complexity of technology, combined with the costs associated with growth and document management, means that legal departments must find a better way to manage workflows and work proactively to avoid roadblocks. One way to address these issues involves identifying the which tasks should be handled by members of your team while also ensuring communication and accountability remain top priorities.

Managing the Life of a Contract

While your senior legal counsel will always have ultimate control over critical documents and contracts, in order to a legal department to run smoothly, some responsibilities and approval powers will need to be delegated. Striking a balance between due diligence and efficiency will necessarily involve integrating tools that will allow for customized permissions and document tracking. While senior counsel will always have final ownership and responsibility for every task, sharing specific aspects of contract management will allow for greater collaboration between teams and the ability to anticipate, and circumvent, any possible bottlenecks as a contract travels through its lifecycle from creation to ratification.

Strategies to Mitigate Organizational Bottlenecks

The types of projects your team handles can make all the difference when it comes to navigating the added responsibilities and other complexities that can emerge as your company grows. For example, time-sensitive duties will take precedence, but consideration should also be paid to key milestones and deadlines that could shift or become irrelevant. When assessing how best to leverage your team’s strengths, it is vital to pay attention to areas where your team struggles, especially when those missteps result in waste time or fractured timelines. Any strategy should begin with these three steps:

  • Reorganizing your department for more efficiency during periods of growth

  • Streamlining communications and responsibilities

  • Identifying ways to maintain strong oversight as your legal department grows

  • Finding the Right Solution

As a business or department grows and takes on more diverse tasks, the need to change strategy for sharing responsibilities only becomes more critical. Automating processes with solutions contract management software provides organizations with increased agility during times of growth. The ability to act quickly and simplify processes helps mitigate the inevitable bottlenecks that occur when a company begins to expand operations and acquire more clients and bigger projects. In addition, ditching paper and hard copies in favor of digital records adds an extra layer of security, efficiency, and reliability. Businesses that incorporate even the most basic digital document management system experience significant benefits, including reduced overhead costs, increased revenue, diminished document processes times, and improved efficiency.

The right digital document management solution also empowers team members to work collaboratively and share duties easily, leading to fewer mistakes, less redundancy, and improved data security. Contract management software, for example, consolidates contracts in one centralized database with customized accessibility, search functionality, auditing, and more.

Contract review and management may be a small part of the many responsibilities held by legal departments, but it can be an exceptionally time-consuming process, especially when an organization is growing either internally or in the marketplace. With a single source of truth that allows the legal department to share contracts electronically, control access, note progress and require entry of specific information, delegating contract review responsibilities become even more efficient.

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