As we enter 2022, many industries are flourishing, thanks to ground-breaking advancements in technology. The legal profession is one of these industries, and, over the last few years, it has been utilizing technology to thrive. It is no secret that the pandemic accelerated digital transformation for many companies. Legal technology was evolving far before the pandemic and has only been enhanced by it. Here are some ways the legal profession is using technology to prosper today:

Lawyers are increasingly adopting new technology

Many lawyers are open to adopting and using new technology in their legal practices. This is partly because we can no longer resist technological changes. This industry and its people are not opposed to keeping up with the legal trends, using technology where possible to make their processes more streamlined and efficient.

With the pandemic making technology a considerable part of remote working and life in general, many people are more open to and expecting newer technologies like virtual meetings to only be further developed. This means adopting new technologies and watching out for newer developments in the tech space.

Legal tech is improving collaboration

Many companies have adopted legal technology to help remote workers access data more efficiently and quickly. Digitized paper trails, online approval processes, and implementing practices such as templated contracts have helped improve collaboration between teams. Using technology has also allowed legal departments to gather and analyze relevant data from projects such as budgets, processes, and real-time status updates.

In addition, when most legal firms adopt new technologies, they look for software that allows them to be appropriately compliant, thanks to features such as contract life management and entity management. This further enhances collaboration if and when an audit is required.

 Improved focus on cybersecurity and data protection

While the legal profession and industry thrive on technology, there is always a concern regarding data protection and security. Cybersecurity has been a consideration since we’ve been storing data online. With remote working becoming a norm in the last couple of years, cybersecurity has become a significant focus for many organizations. Companies are mapping out protocols and action points in case of any data breach. The focus has become more prominent, with company data being accessed from various geographic locations and IP addresses within the organization.

Legal tech is enabling general counsel to become more efficient

The general counsels of organizations are utilizing legal technology to become more efficient by streamlining processes and templating documents where possible. They have also been using technology for client billing and keeping track of files digitally. Furthermore, many use apps to keep track of meetings, tasks, and important documents and emails. This allows the general counsel to focus on more business-oriented duties and projects, managing and using their time more efficiently.

A new generation of lawyers is coming of age with high technological expectations 

Many upcoming lawyers are well-versed in technology and how it operates for and within their profession. This new generation of lawyers is coming of age and is expected to know and understand the digital world. With newer technologies being introduced and developed like AR, VR, and the Metaverse, upcoming lawyers must be up to date on their technological knowledge.

Even when the pandemic ends, many legal professionals may not be going back to the same way they practiced before. The rapid digital transformation that the world has gone through will continue to shape the world of legal technology and the industry. People will continue to be open to the new technologies introduced to them while using current ones to thrive in the industry.

Contact us today to find out more or schedule a demonstration.

In this three-part Environmental Social Governance (ESG) series, we look at the origins of ESG, recent regulatory announcements, new emerging standards and how to prepare your organization for the future of public reporting.

The term ESG may be trending in 2022, but the concept of measuring, disclosing and analyzing companies’ environmental, social and governance performance has been in development for decades.

ESG performance criteria provide insights into how much consideration corporate leadership has given to the environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities connected to operations.  The process of preparing a company for a public ESG report can help identify missing policies and processes, but also new opportunities for waste reduction, stakeholder engagement and innovation.

ESG encompasses a wide range of issues but most commonly:

  • Environmental criteria: greenhouse gas emissions, waste generation, water security and climate change risk strategy
  • Social criteria: employee and supplier diversity, socioeconomic impact in the community, pay equality, worker health, safety and human rights
  • Governance criteria: transparency, policy development, independence of the board of directors, diversity, anti-bribery & corruption measures, tax practices and executive compensation

What are the origins of ESG?

Traditional economists once viewed environmental, social and ethical concerns as externalities and therefore not financially material to a company’s performance, but in the 1980s and ‘90s, that began to shift.  Numerous public safety revelations, human rights abuses, and environmental disasters attributed to corporate operations not only devalued companies but also forced society to look at business impacts differently. A shareholder-centric view of a corporation’s responsibilities became inadequate for managing the full scope of risks.

Further prompted by calls from civil society to increase transparency and social responsibility, companies began to engage a more inclusive group of stakeholders and communicate their corporate social responsibility progress.  Reporting frameworks like the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G1 Standard, first published in 2000, helped companies qualify and quantify impacts for stakeholders. This practice of voluntary, annual public reporting became the baseline for all future corporate reporting.

The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) used the acronym ESG in 2004 to describe their work on sustainable finance with banks, insurers and investors, and the concept has been in development ever since.  Multi-stakeholder consortiums have continued to quietly build and refine public disclosure frameworks that provide both the transparency society asks of a modern corporation and the consistency the financial sector has requested of environmental, social and governance claims. The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), founded in 2011, created a financial materiality map of ESG indicators by sector that established credibility within the generally accepted accounting principles.  The financial materiality of ESG was further supported by the creation of the Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures (TCFD) in 2015, whose climate risk disclosure guidance has now become part of mainstream finance.

ESG right now

There have been several significant ESG announcements in the first half of 2022, including:

  • International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) proposed unified disclosure standards for capital markets.
  • Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) announced a collaboration with ISSB; aligning the multi-stakeholder disclosure framework already used by thousands of publicly traded companies.
  • Canadian Federal Budget 2022 included an announcement that mandatory climate-related reporting is planned for federally regulated financial institutions.
  • US. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed rules to standardize climate disclosures for investors.

Investor-focused capital market standards and multi-stakeholder sustainability standards are aligning, and North American regulators are beginning to mandate ESG disclosure for financial institutions. Although this may not impact your company today, this does signal a demand for increased transparency around ESG risks to your business, and it is expected to create climate disclosure requirements for financial institutions’ customers and suppliers.

With oversight from the board of directors, general counsel and senior leadership have an opportunity to make your organization more resilient and to manage a broad set of issues proactively. Companies that put the committees, policies and processes in place to manage ESG performance have an opportunity to go beyond compliance and make their implementation a strategic advantage.

By embedding environmental and social value into your culture and prioritizing ESG as a centre of excellence, you will learn from the insights, inspire employees and be in a better position to differentiate your organization.  Every company has an opportunity to contribute to a just, sustainable future, but leadership is essential to building an impactful ESG practice.

In the 2nd of this 3-part ESG series, we will talk about organizational leadership, engaging your teams and creating value for all stakeholders.

BY: Steven Fish, Independent Esg Advisor

Contact us today to find out more or schedule a demonstration.

The Canadian legal profession has been slowly but surely inching towards gender parity over the last decade but women in law still have a long way to go.

New female entrants to this historically male dominated sector face a number of challenges. Women are often the primary caregivers at home, forced to juggle both professional responsibilities and the bulk of the domestic duties. This balancing act puts them at a disadvantage when trying to keep up with male colleagues.

Download this E-Book to discover Tips for Women Lawyers joining In-house legal departments.

 

When corporate legal departments made their New Year’s Resolutions in January, clearing the clutter was top of mind for many. Around 50% of in-house counsel see eliminating inefficiencies as their biggest priority in 2022.

Inefficiencies hinder legal departments in multiple ways – threatening productivity, profitability, resource-management, cybersecurity, and more. Identifying and addressing these problem areas doesn’t just make counsel more cost-effective, it frees them up to focus on strategic operations and take a more prominent role in corporate governance.

7 Ways to Eliminate Inefficiencies in Legal Departments

Automate admin tasks

Spending hours on admin is rarely the best use of your legal department’s time and energy. Especially when formulaic tasks like invoicing, filing, and documentation can be easily automated.

Areas like contract management and litigation management lend themselves well to automation, streamlining arduous admin around documentation, case follow-up, data archiving, and monitoring the contract or case lifecycle. Lawyers who use document automation report time savings.

Taking care of this low-hanging fruit means your legal department is freed from the daily grind of form-filling and box-ticking, giving them more time to focus on priority and strategic tasks that are better suited to their skillset. Not only that, but it will likely lead to greater morale among your team as they can focus on work that is more challenging for them.

Improve contract management

Around 50% of general counsel say inefficiencies in contract lifecycle management result in lost revenue, making automation of these key processes a must.

Using a trusted and secure solution, legal departments can confidently automate many aspects of the contract lifecycle. From generating documents to contract archiving, digital solutions are your best defense against human error, data privacy risks, and chaotic workflows. They also enable departments to seamlessly scale, providing a firm foundation for further growth.

Hire Legal Ops

Legal Operations, is a growing trend among corporate legal departments, with 61% now employing at least one Legal Ops staff member.

These professionals drive efficiency gains, with their focus on strategic planning, budgeting, and decision-making. They’re generally not involved in legal processes but act more like support staff and business managers.

To be truly effective, your Legal Ops team needs the right tools. They often work across departments and require access to a full-service governance suite that offers visibility, flexibility, and enhanced communication.

Invest in analytics

A solid reporting platform gives corporate legal departments a 360 view into every aspect of their operations so they can easily pinpoint areas that need improvement and attention.

Analytics tools help your team quickly spot any efficiency gaps and address them before they worsen, opening your department up to cybersecurity risk or threatening profitability.

Getting to know your corporate data also helps teams set KPIs and other performance metrics while assisting with risk management, cost-benefit analysis, and forecasting.

Streamline board communication

General counsel have a lot on their plate – not only are they responsible for overseeing the activities of the legal department, they’re also expected to weigh in at the executive level, acting as business partners, strategic advisors, and corporate officers in their dealings with the Board.

The relationship between counsel and the Board goes to the heart of good governance and is reliant on seamless communication and the ability to quickly respond to any issues. When workflows are cluttered it impedes counsel’s ability to maintain that all-important relationship by tying them up in unnecessary knots going back and forth to schedule meetings, deliver reports, and follow-up on action items.

Using a streamlined virtual portal makes life easier for busy general counsel by putting every interaction between counsel and Board in one central hub. Easy to use and navigate, Board portals optimize how Board members, executive committees and other stakeholders work – managing all communication and collaboration in a highly-accessible and transparent format.

Maximize entity management

Departmental clutter is costly enough, but add subsidiaries into the mix and things can quickly get chaotic. Legal entity management is another efficiency pitfall, with counsel often consumed with micro-managing the oversight of these bodies.

Delegating that oversight to technology can transform your legal department’s entity management processes, giving greater control and transparency without the need for labor-intensive manual monitoring.

By consolidating entities under a single, secure platform, counsel have a window into their operations and the ability to centralize all documentation and communication in real-time.

Tidy up your paperwork

Legal departments attract paperwork and, if they’re not careful, can end up getting buried in documentation.

A digital library or archive can help – giving users the ability to securely store, access, share, and edit all documentation from a central system. No more losing files, spending hours hunting down a folder, or losing track of a paper trail; everything is instantly accessible at your fingertips.

Cutting down on paperwork in this way also aligns with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) objectives, giving organizations a chance to go green and reduce waste by implementing more sustainable practices. Research shows a positive link between ESG adoption and financial performance, not just because it creates brand loyalty and drives retention, but because eliminating wasteful practices significantly reduces operating costs. Going paperless protects the environment, lowers a corporation’s carbon footprint, and promotes better time and resource management.

More efficiency, more resilience

 

The DiliTrust Governance suite provides everything necessary to transform workflows and realize efficiency gains.

Our market-leading solution helps your legal department improve performance in every area. Modules include:

Contract Lifecycle Management

Monitor every step of the contract lifecycle with our innovative platform that targets efficiency hang-ups.

Our Contract Lifecycle Management module allows legal departments to digitally store an unlimited volume of contracts and associated documents, with everything instantly accessible from a single dashboard.

This level of visibility doesn’t compromise security however as admins can safeguard confidential documents by setting sharing/editing privileges for each user using the flexible access controls.

Features such as digital watermarking, document annotation, and intelligent archiving make it easy to move contracts from one stage to the next. And you never have to worry about missing anything along the way – smart tagging features help users organize and classify contracts while date-stamped alerts keep stakeholders on top of deadlines and urgent items.

Litigation management

This integrated module allows for more linear litigation workflows by improving performance at every step from classifying cases to advanced analytics. When cases come in, they’re organized by case position, type of proceedings, and the nature of the case so you know exactly where they sit in the system and can immediately pull them up when needed.

From there, counsel can monitor their progress, seeing new documents or updates in real-time, and customize their interface to access a broad overview of the entire litigation cycle.

Board portal

Board communication is a cinch with DiliTrust’s easy-to-use and ultra-secure Board Portal. Track daily activity, set meeting alerts, share documents, and more with the collaborative platform that eases the administrative burden on corporate counsel.

The portal is ISO 27001 certified in line with the highest international security standards and is accessible from desktop and mobile devices so counsel and Boards can log in and get caught up from the road, the office, or at home.

Documentation library

Going paperless requires a tool that can handle a high volume of documentation, is easy to navigate, and meets stringent security standards. The Documentation Library delivers on all three counts with unlimited storage, complete confidentiality, and easy access.

Legal entity management

This module monitors a corporation’s subsidiaries and shares, centralizing the legal activities of legal entities, shareholders, executive directors, management and oversight bodies. These are presented in clear organizational charts so counsel can view the structure of entities at a glance. Documents relating to each entity are stored within their specific group, from which counsel can organize, classify, and annotate all materials. Every activity within the module is logged, providing a comprehensive audit trail.

Streamlined, secure, and intuitive, the integrated Suite will change the way your legal department works in 2022, putting your organization on a growth trajectory and building resilience for whatever the year brings. Contact us today to find out more or schedule a demonstration.

Legal departments have gone through a rapid digital transformation in the last couple of years. It has become integral to the productivity and integrity of organizations that want to stay competitive and grow in today’s technologically driven world.

The COVID-19 crisis forced companies to work remotely, leading to a quick digital transformation that changed the way legal departments function in the long term. Many of them now use digital tools and legal technology to boost their productivity, improve operational processes, and find ways to bring more efficiency to the department.

Here are some ways in which digital transformation is increasing efficiency for legal departments:

Digital transformation has gone from concept to reality

We are at the peak of digital transformation. For many years, it was a rather futuristic concept and one that seemed to be longer to process. Remote working has fast-tracked it and rapidly making it a part of our lives.

In addition to the accelerated digital transformation brought on by COVID 19, The Government of Canada continues to plan a digital roadmap. In doing so, Canada continues to recognize the importance of digitization and is also helping small and medium businesses utilize their full potential by providing support through digital technologies. With the importance of technology dawning on Canada and other countries, digital transformation is no longer a concept but our current reality. The pandemic has accelerated the transformation, causing fewer technologies, such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and the Metaverse, to be introduced.

Specifically, the legal industry has also adopted technology to help streamline its processes and enhance productivity. Remote working has made people more open to exploring online tools and software to help organize and store legal data, collaborate online, and even use data from their software to analyze what is working and what can be improved.

Legal departments are using the right digital tools to train their team members

Many legal departments realize that digital is here to stay and are using digital tools to train their new and existing team members. According to Gartner, “legal departments are predicted to increase their spend on technology threefold by the year 2025.” The end of 2021 allowed companies to update their technology where required, and many legal departments took the opportunity to audit their processes and tech.

Furthermore, departments started realizing the importance of cultivating the right skills to make the team more efficient. They have been implementing and continue to implement relevant digital tools and strategies, helping team members work efficiently, whether remotely or in a hybrid situation. Many legal departments are also embracing social technology to reach out to the newer generation of lawyers while staying digitally relevant.

Some legal teams have a specific technology committee that is dedicated to overseeing all the digital aspects of the department. Their duties include overseeing legal technology, analyzing relevant data, finding ways to streamline processes digitally, and implementing best practices for cybersecurity.

Digital transformation has created room for hybrid/remote working

Legal departments can work remotely with digital transformation, allowing them to collaborate with team members through secure software and virtual meetings. While some team members miss the office environment, many have realized how working remotely or having a hybrid working situation has helped them create a work/life balance.

Part of this also leans on the company. A workplace that can offer flexible work hours, hybrid/remote working situations, and support where required is more aligned with the work/life balance that employees are looking for. This support comes in the form of listening to your employees, as well as providing the right tools for them to work efficiently. Listening to your employees if and when they have concerns and addressing them appropriately is key. In a remote/hybrid work environment, it is important to check if your employees feel supported technologically by making sure they have all the required tools and resources to work comfortably and efficiently.

In summary, digital transformation has opened doors to many conversations in the legal industry. While its onset came on rapidly due to the pandemic, legal departments were proactive and able to adapt to the new norm quickly. Technology departments worked together to ensure data was secure when working remotely, and legal departments came together to find ways to streamline processes using tech and making them more efficient. Finally, companies ensured their employees felt supported and comfortable and continue to do so as the digital umbrella expands with time.

Streamlined, secure, and intuitive, the integrated Suite will change the way your legal department works in 2022, putting your organization on a growth trajectory and building resilience for whatever the year brings. Contact us today to find out more or schedule a demonstration.

Contact us today to book a demonstration of the DiliTrust Governance suite.

A businesses’ growth has a large dependence on digitalization. Many companies went through a digital transformation during the pandemic and continue to do so as technology evolves. Corporate directors must also adapt to this digital reality by taking a more active role in supporting senior executives as they take steps to enhance their organization’s digital transformation and become leaders of the growth strategies. 

Directors must understand and relate well to the business. However, they must also advance an inclusive innovation culture and facilitate the right kind of conversations across disparate departments. Conversations where ideas move freely, skills are as necessary as functions, and no one feels “siloed” or stuck in their assigned role. 

Challenges for the corporate board in this context

Implementing any new ideas or changes can be challenging for anyone in an organization. Change can be challenging for corporate directors and board members who have seen the company grow over the years. Understanding and adapting to the new digital environment may take time to adapt.

One of the most common challenging aspects is the investment into going digital and away from paper. Finding the right digital partners, investing in software, and implementing digital solutions is a considerable investment in both time and money. At the end of the day, the directors want digital solutions to enable strategic value and efficiency gains.  

Finally, a common concern also lies around the unknowns of cybersecurity. Investing in digital transformation has increased conversations around data security, data breaches, and how organizations can tackle this topic. 

What Boards should consider when implementing a digital transformation agenda

While the world is moving towards a more digital era, it is important for the board to consider the business risks and how digital transformation will help enhance the existing business model.  

Secondly, what is the company’s overall digital strategy? What is the goal of implementing any digital strategies? Once these goals are known, it will be easier to map out a strategy to implement digital solutions.  

Another important aspect of the digital transformation agenda is to have the financial aspects covered. This means understanding the digital strategy’s financial impact and the return on investment (ROI) into these new digital tools for the company’s transformation. 

As mentioned above, cybersecurity is another vital aspect to consider when implementing a digital transformation agenda. Looking into tools and software that can keep your company’s data secure and ensure best practices for data security is crucial.  

Finally, have a timeline to implement the digital transformation roadmap, whether for the whole organization or a specific department. Timelines help the plan stay on track and collect relevant data to understand the impact of the new strategy.

How Boards can support the management team in driving value from its digital transformation strategy

There are multiple ways for the board to support management in driving the company’s digital transformation. To begin with, implementing a digital expertise team is the best way to support all parties involved. This team will communicate between the board and the management that will help execute any digital transformation strategies within the company. 

This digital expertise team can also help create and implement digital orientation sessions for all departments. These orientations will help departments and the board embrace digital tools that are either implemented or considered. These orientations can also help board members assess the performance of these tools and how it is helping the overall business of the company. 

Finally, the board must support all digital initiatives. This means having a plan to communicate changes and implementations in the company. All board members should be on the same page and be able to answer any questions or provide any support required for the company’s digital transformation strategy.

In conclusion, corporate directors have a prime role to play in ensuring that the benefits of digital strategies are maximized and that risks are identified and addressed. Having a digital team that helps communicate and implement these strategies is one way to go about it. However, it is equally important for the board to support digital transformation and be up to date with any tools used within the company and the industry. 

Contact us today to book a demonstration of the DiliTrust Governance suite.

Cybersecurity is a key concern amongst many organizations, especially in today’s digital world. With companies adapting to remote or hybrid working environments, the concern for data breaches and cyberattacks is more. Data is being used across the geographies of a company, as opposed to under one network in an office. This easy access to data across multiple networks is of concern to many organizations. In the light of this new digital era, here are some of the best practices for cybersecurity in 2022:

Update security policies to the new realities 

As times are evolving, so are digital practices across the board. This gives room for an organization to evolve and rethink its security policies and compliance to be adapted to the new realities. According to the Global Information Security Survey 2021 by EY, “half of Canadian executives say ensuring compliance in today’s regulatory landscape is the most stressful part of their job.”

In order to reduce this stress, reviewing and updating security policies and compliance regularly is crucial. This helps IT teams be more proactive in implementing any required changes in the company’s cybersecurity practices. Because this is an ongoing process that needs to be adaptive. Reviewing and updating these policies quarterly or monthly can be beneficial, especially in the unfortunate event of a cybersecurity threat.

Monitor cyber threats and be prepared to respond quickly 

The best way to be prepared for any cyber threats is to outline a plan beforehand. The common problem with many organizations is that they are unprepared for these attacks, and any actions are taken only after a cyber-attack. All organizations should have an actionable plan for any cyber threat or data breach.

The first step is identifying the threat classification. These can be from big data breaches to a lower threat like having a website down for a few minutes.

Every business classifies these incidents differently. Therefore, all teams (board, executives, IT team, and legal counsel) must be on the same page about the severity of every potential cyber threat incident identified.

Once the different scenarios are identified, map out a detailed strategy for responding quickly to these potential incidents. Have a point of contact for each scenario, what would happen to fix the situation, and when there is a need to alert team members and departments. It can also help to test run these strategies to ensure that it is the best response to a situation and adapt them accordingly once data and feedback are gathered.

Outsource cybersecurity planning

In-house efforts are too often not sufficient protection. There are multiple moving parts to a company’s data security and keeping any critical information secure is the topmost priority. Partnering with a company that can help by providing threat intelligence, risk management, experimentation, and continuous learning is the smart way to go.

As part of the response to any cybersecurity threats, a crucial part of the plan should be looking for a suitable partner for the organization’s data security. According to the Global Information Security Survey 2021, about 68% of CISOs say that management does not view cybersecurity as commercial. This mindset needs a shift as collaboration in cybersecurity can help organizations focus more on business strategies and worry less about data breaches.

Globally and in Canada, many companies are now at a critical point in digital transformation. Cybersecurity should be a genuine concern with hybrid and remote working situations as companies are not internally prepared for any issues they may encounter. It is crucial to respond and not react. 

Having a well-mapped plan for any anticipated scenarios is essential. Therefore, finding the right cybersecurity partner can help an organization bring security and privacy to the forefront of innovation. This will allow for prioritizing the security and privacy of data in every company process involving technology, allowing all teams and departments to focus on business-related strategies.

Contact us today to book a demonstration of the DiliTrust Governance suite.

Before the pandemic, many businesses realized the benefits of paperless technologies, moving core processes from HR, sales, marketing, and others to online. But the transformative shift in recent years towards a more flexible, remote, or hybrid work model has ramped up this acceleration, increasing uptake of software solutions across all areas of an organization, including corporate legal departments.

Download this E-Book to discover the 5 w’s you need to know to digitalize your legal entities management.

BY: Amy Ross, Business Development Executive – Western Canada, DiliTrust Canada Inc.

 

Geopolitical turmoil and post-pandemic shifts raise serious cybersecurity concerns for the year ahead. In 2022, Canadian boards will have to be mindful not just of new technologies and the threats that come with them, but also the global context of a rapidly-changing world.

Download this white paper to discover the Board’s role in cybersecurity.  

In the economic and financial sectors, where ESG has been particularly popular recently, its criteria are commonly used as extra-financial analysis tools for evaluating economic actors beyond the usual criteria. By incorporating these criteria, organizations can distinguish themselves and prove their responsible commitment, thus promoting the sustainability of their governance.

Download this white paper to discover why ESG is not just another trend.