Legal – the last (OK, perhaps I should state latest) technology frontier – to boldly go where no one has embraced technology before. So it would appear to an observer of the average corporate legal department. Corporate attorneys have been technology agnostics not willing to give up their legal pads and pens in exchange for process efficient technology.
Times are changing. Lawyers have been forced to embrace technology and understand it in more detail with the advent of electronic discovery requirements (e.g., Federal Rules of Civil Procedure). This has caused many a lawyer to get over their severe case of techphobia and come to understand that technology can really improve the performance and governance of the corporate legal department. Inside counsel is now becoming tech savvy and willing to embrace technology to improve business legal processes that have historically been very manual and paper-based.
Corporate Integrity sees a new evolution of legal management software that embraces a holistic view of legal process management. Currently, the market is comprised of several dozen software vendors focusing on specific legal functions. The future will show a few of these vendors successfully creating a solution that manages legal processes in an integrated platform. The goal: to bring sustainability, consistency, efficiency, transparency, and accountability to legal process management.
The legal process management market (part of the GRC – Governance, Risk, and Compliance – Market) incorporates the following components:
- Matter Management is the core platform for both inside and outside counsel to document and manage all legal matters the organization is involved in. At its core it offers project, document, resource, and time management for legal matters. Leading matter management platforms today come from Bridgeway, Mitratech, Serengeti, and CT Wolters Kluwer. Other systems include CSC, EAG Case Track, LawTrac/LT Online, Legal Files, and PefectLaw.
- Discovery Management is a recent solution area that evolved out of the hailstorm of eDiscovery solutions in response to the revised Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in the United States. These platforms assist in managing the accountability, documentation, and process/workflow of fulfilling discovery requests. In one sense they are a natural extension of matter management platforms. Leading discovery process management solutions include Bridgeway, Exterro, Mitratech, and PSS Systems.
- Contract Management solutions manage the contracting process from a legal perspective in assisting in the writing, review, modification, negotiation, execution, and archiving of all legal contracts and obligations of the company. Legal contract management platforms that have had broader adoption in corporate legal departments include Compliance 360, EAG CaseTrack, Emptoris, Mitratech, and Selectica. Archer Technologies and Axentis have also been deployed for contract management – but have not seen the same level of traction within corporate legal departments.
- Investigations Management provides a platform for documenting all issues, events, investigations, incidents, and wrongdoing in the corporation. Leading enterprise investigations management platforms targeted at the corporate legal department include Archer Technologies, Axentis, Compliance 360, EthicsPoint, Global Compliance, Mitratech, and PPM 2000.
- Hotline/Whistleblower are more than a technology platform as they end up being a service to provide for reporting of incidents (many times anonymously) via the web or telephone hotline. Leading vendors in the hotline and whistleblower space include Allegiance, EthicsPoint, Global Compliance, and The Network. Several of these solutions also offer enterprise investigations management as a platform as well.
- Board & Entity Management delivers a solution for the corporate secretary (typically in legal) to manage board papers, communications, and corporate reports/filings. This includes features for board calendaring and scheduling as well as documenting legal entities, structure, relationships, assets, and responsible parties (Executives, Directors). Vendors in this area include BoardVantage, Bridgeway, BWise, Computershare, CSC, ICSA, Mitratech, SAI Global, and CT Wolters Kluwer.
- Policy & Procedure Management involves a platform for defining, communicating, provide training, managing, and archiving of corporate policies, procedures, ethics, and code of conduct. Solutions in this space provide a central repository for managing the policy lifecycle. Vendors include Archer Technologies, Axentis, BWise, Compliance 360, Mitratech, OpenPages, QUMAS, and SAI Global. However, not all of these vendors offer the same features. Axentis offers the easiest to use – but complete – policy and procedure management solution. Archer Technologies, Axentis, and Compliance 360 can deliver training modules within their platforms. Mitratech just offers the management of policy lifecycles – but not the communication component.
- Training Solutions offer a wide range of legal, ethics, and regulatory training modules to be delivered in other GRC platforms (such as Policy & Procedure Management) or eLearining solutions. Vendors such as Corpedia, Global Compliance, Integrity Interactive, LRN, and SAI Global offer training solutions in this area.
- Legal Risk Management & Analysis solutions are designed for defining, managing, modeling, and monitoring legal and compliance risks in the enterprise. This is a relatively new area for technology solutions and is best done with solutions that support decision tree risk modeling to help an organization analyze legal scenarios and outcomes. Solutions focused on this capability include Mitratech and Riskonnect. Amenaza is another vendor but has not focused on the legal market.
- Compliance Management involves a platform for documenting requirements (laws, regulations, contractual), mapping them to corporate controls and policies, and providing for the assessment and reporting on the state of compliance. There is a wide range of vendors offering compliance management solutions – many of which grew out of the Sarbanes Oxley/financial controls space such as OpenPages and Paisley. Vendors that have shown particular traction within legal departments for managing compliance include Axentis, Compliance 360, QUMAS, Mitratech, and SAI Global. Other vendors offering compliance management – but do not have demonstrated traction within legal – are Archer Technologies< /span>, BWise, and MetricStream.
- Legal & Regulatory Intelligence is a particular feature set embedded in legal process management solutions that deliver efficiency and accountability in monitoring changes in laws, regulations, legislation, and court rulings that could impact the company. The leading innovator in this area is Compliance 360 as their solution profiles regulatory and legal interests and directly integrates with Lexis Nexis and Thomson Westlaw and routes new legal developments into a process flow. Mitratech has capabilities in this area as well. Axentis is doing similar management of the accountability and evaluation process – but does not have the integration with content providers. Corporate Integrity fully expects that Lexis Nexis, LRN, SAI Global, Thomson, and Wolters Kluwer will be building out solutions in this area to further leverage their content.
- 3rd Party Compliance Management involves platforms for communicating ethics, code of conduct, and policies across an organizations 3rd party and supply-chain relationships. Some of these platforms go further into managing self-assessments and audits of the vendors as well. Most companies buying solutions in this space seek a Software as a Service (Saas)/hosted platform for easy accessibility by 3rd party business relationships. Leading vendors in this space include Archer Technologies, Axentis, Compliance 360, and Integrity Interactive.
- Corporate Social Responsibility Management is a relatively new space of technology that is just emerging. While there are platforms out there for managing CSR – particularly from an environmental perspective such as Equilibrium – not many platforms have targeted the legal and corporate secretary role in CSR. However, some vendors that have engaged with legal are seeing their platforms retooled for CSR purposes led from the legal department. These vendors include Archer Technologies and Compliance 360.
- Information Management consists of applications for identifying and cataloging information assets across the organization. This category would focus on sensitive corporate information (e.g., personal information, corporate records, and even intellectual property) and catalog its location, controls, and policies. Archer Technologies is an example of a vendor that operates in this space.
- Intellectual Property Management consists of applications for cataloging intellectual property across the organization including includes ownership rights, regulatory requirements as well as renewal dates, governmental correspondences, and filing status. The focus of this area is on intellectual property (e.g., patents, trademarks, copyrights) and has vendors such as Anaqua, Cognocys, and IPDOX.
The legal process management has many niches – as illustrated above. The begging question – who does it all? Answer: simply no one. Though there are a few notables that provide a fairly complete enterprise legal process management platform. Mitratech and Compliance 360 are providing very complete platforms – but from different angles. Mitratech grew out of the matter management area and has expanded rapidly into other areas. Compliance 360 grew out of the corporate compliance function within legal (initially within healthcare and insurance) and has been expanding out. Other vendors appear to be aggressively focusing on the corporate legal department and providing an end to end solution – these include Archer Technologies, SAI Global, and Wolters Kluwer.