Digital Front Door for Legal: A Complete Guide to Legal Service Request Management

February 22, 2024

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With businesses today requiring increasing amounts and growing types of legal support, legal departments are under pressure to meet demand, despite limited resources. With the pressure for efficiency and cost reduction, increasing work with flattening headcounts, poor business perception of legal and lack of prioritization from IT, legal teams are finding it more difficult to demonstrate their value and to justify needing additional resources to meet company goals.

As a result, the business either becomes dissatisfied with the turnaround times from legal, or the lawyers end up working in overdrive just to keep up - with high risks of burnout. Both effects are further aggravated by the opaqueness of legal requests, which sets the business up to misunderstand legal. This further feeds into that dissatisfaction and putting legal in the dark when it comes to managing workload and efficient output. As the age old saying goes: ‘What isn’t measured cannot be managed.’

This is why many modern legal teams are now looking towards digitizing their intake and triage process as a solution to improving their legal service request management. Having a digital front door for the business to engage with legal helps the function to optimize its resources and save time. But what does this look like, why does it matter, and how can we get there?

Legal service request banner

What is Legal Service Request Management?

Legal service request management (LSRM) refers to how the business raises requests to legal and how those requests are managed. Employees can submit legal requests, track their progress and readily access services and information. Legal teams can manage the intake, triage and resolution of service requests, whilst monitoring analytics and reporting for optimization. Legal service request management can be considered as the combination of these three core components:  

  • The Front Door – This is the interface and user experience when raising a request to legal.
  • The Service Catalogue: This is a directory of available options that determine legal request routing and triage. Examples of use cases or automated solutions within this catalogue include:
    • Contract Lifecycle Workflows – Involves the end-to-end management of the contract lifecycle from creation and approvals, through to execution and renewal.
    • Approval Workflows – Legal can guide users through the review and approval of documents and policies.
    • Self-Service Knowledge & Advice – Enable users to self-serve any legal knowledge or information through built-in knowledge bases or escalating requests to the dedicated lawyer or company resource. Digital Compliance – Drive policy adoption by turning static compliance policies into guided processes and digital experiences.
  • Reporting – This refers to the tracking and analytics of requests to provide visibility into the types of requests being submitted, how long they take to complete, where are the requests currently stuck at, and more, to help coordinate work and improve processes

What Legal Service Request Management Is Not

Typically, legal departments already have technology in place to help them with their day-to-day matters such as contract repository, e-billing, matter management and e-discovery. But these examples of legal technology do not solve the challenge of ‘doing more with less.’  

Many of these legal technologies help us manage our work better, but they do not help us do our work better. Another issue with these other technologies is that they have limited intake and workflow abilities that are only suited for specific platforms or capability. For example, tools such as contract lifecycle management have limited intake and workflow ability, and only tackle contract-specific processes and can only be defined to the restrictions of that specific software.

LSRM software is much more universal in that it can easily integrate into existing platforms and ensures full coverage of the data requests coming through the legal department and provides the full picture of legal request data.

To move the needle, legal departments need to look at optimizing the doing of the work. Namely, the intake of legal service requests and the resolution of said requests. By properly prioritizing legal services, legal teams can truly maximize their performance and overall contribution to the business.  

The Legal Service Management Request Difference

LSRM differs from other service request management processes in an organization, such as IT or HR, because:  

  • Legal’s service catalogue is highly variable depending on the type of business activities of the organization – For example, a gaming company would have a lot of legal work relating to intellectual property, whereas a SaaS (Software as a Service) company would have a lot of contracting work relating to software licenses and partnerships.  
  • Legal requests may involve multiple different parties outside of legal – For example, a legal request might bounce around from department-to-department, or even an external third party, making it easy to lose track of the initial request, and harder for the legal department to resolve.
  • Legal requests often need to be integrated with existing legal-specific tools – For example,  e-Billing/Matter Management and Document Management

What is the Current State of Legal Service Request Management?

Most legal teams in the US and across the world still lack any robust or comprehensive form of legal intake. In fact, according to a survey we have conducted for legal operations professionals from companies like Equitable, Panasonic, Baxter and The New York Times, 47% of legal teams handle their legal requests from ad hoc, unorganized channels. This means that they are still receiving requests from their business through phone calls, messages, and emails (, or a centralized @legal shared inbox. These channels are difficult to manage, meaning that legal requests cannot be resolved promptly, creating a bottleneck throughout the rest of the company.  

Additionally, 25% of respondents indicated that they have someone dedicated on the team to do manual triage to allocate legal requests to the team with 29% having lawyers self-manage their requests and 25% of legal teams employing a business partnered model. Only 21% allocate their requests using an automated triage system where a total of 79% indicate using various forms of manual triaging - whether through self-management, a dedicated headcount, or through a business partnered model.

From this, legal teams are mapped against our Legal Service Request Management Maturity Model (see diagram below), where the majority reside in Stage 1 and Stage 2.

Depending on their stage of maturity and reflected in survey responses, legal departments tend to face the following challenges:

Challenges at each stage

  • Confusion on where and how to access legal
  • Inefficient back and forth on instruction to legal
  • Legal receives non-legal related requests
  • Manual work to monitor, filter and assign requests
  • Request aren’t being assigned efficiently based on lawyer specialization or capacity
  • Lack of visibility into the volume and status of workflows and legal requests

The Benefits of Implementing a Legal Service Request Management Software to the Business

With an effective legal service delivery model, legal teams can transition from being a ‘cost center’ to a ‘strategic enabler’. Depicted on the left of the diagram, in a ’cost center’, business users are going directly to the lawyers, creating a lot of inefficient back and forth with requests even being passed on between the lawyers. To the model on the right, legal is reliably delivering service excellence with significantly less volume and back and forth of activities. This allows legal to spend more time being a strategic business partner. And, importantly, unlocks visibility, data, and reporting that empowers legal to measure and present their performance back to the business.

  • Clearer and more streamlined experience on how to engage legal – Implementing a digitized LSRM process provides a centralized and standardized way for the business to engage with legal. There is a clear process or place for business users to raise requests, provide precise instructions and complete information for legal. Legal can triage and manage requests more effectively and accurately, reducing the need for back-and-forth correspondence.  
  • Visibility over requests made and an easily searchable record of current and past requests –  
    In addition to submitting a legal request, business users can view the status or history of requests, creating visibility of the legal service queue and being provided more timely responses and updates.
  • Faster turnaround times on simple requests by leveraging self-serve – Because business users can self-serve basic tasks such as standard document generation and advice, there is a dramatic reduction in the turnaround time for legal requests.
  • Faster turnaround times on more complex requests – By removing the manual triage and resolution of requests through the introduction of self-serve tools, this provides more capacity and prioritization for lawyers to focus on more complex work.

The Benefits of Implementing a Legal Service Request Management Software for Legal Teams

  • More time to focus on high-value tasks – By leveraging the infrastructure of their intake and triage system to create a ‘digital front door’ that not only organizes and allocates work, but also allows some of that work to get done in a self-serve and automated matter, lawyers can ensure that they are always working on tasks that are high value and best suited to each lawyer.
  • Provides lawyers with more capacity – With LSRM, requests are automatically triaged to the most appropriate lawyer or resource based on considerations such as capacity, request complexity, and specialization. This includes automatically redirecting non-legal requests to other parts of the business, completely removing the administrative overhead of capturing and allocating requests.
  • Visibility and reporting on requests – Visibility and reporting on requests are automated and extended to also measure the on-going status of workflows. Having an overview of all requests gives important legal data such as:
    • The time it takes to fulfill a legal request
    • The status of the workflow of the request
    • Who made the request
    • Who the workflow is currently with (not necessarily legal - it could be with IT, procurement, finance, etc.)
  • Data & Analytics – The data provided by a legal service request management software provides the much-needed visibility of the throughput and workload across the legal team to allow more data-driven decisions and process improvements to be made, help justify resourcing needs, and enable better reporting to the business.

Benefits of Implementing Checkbox Legal Service Request Management

Checkbox’s platform brings together request intake, request solution and data to enable legal to reliably deliver excellence and spend more time being a strategic business partner. Our legal service request management platform enables legal to build a digital front door and the self-help tools that sit behind it, without the reliance on IT. With Checkbox’s LSRM solution, combined With Checkbox legal workflow automation software capability, legal teams move from the left in the diagram below (‘Cost Center’) to the right (‘Strategic Enabler’).  

How Legal Service Request Management Works on Checkbox

Checkbox provides a flexible and enjoyable user experience that allows its users to easily set up and customize their own legal service request management tools with features such as embeddable portals and dashboards, making it easy to track the progress of any legal request that might come through. The platform also combines various elements of workflows, making it flexible and able to meet a variety of different needs or scenarios with key highlights of Checkbox being able to facilitate:

  • Document automation combined with intake and workflows
  • Redlining in contract workflows  
  • Decisioning and calculation engine
  • In-platform databases to store and retrieve data
  • Parallel workflows/multi-triggers to enable complex workflows  
  • Out of the box integrations
  • Configurable and flexible dashboards

Additionally, the Checkbox platform allows for users to quickly and easily build their LSRM solutions, saving them time and effort. Not only is our platform intuitive, but it also provides an enjoyable building experience using no-code capabilities with a modern and sleek interface for increased usability and adoption. Checkbox is truly an all-in-one platform for all workflow automation needs.  

Below are the simple steps that a user must go through to submit and resolve their legal requests:  

Step 1: The Legal Front Door / Digital Access Point

The business user will go through a single digital access point from your service portal, Slack, Teams or email to request services from the legal team. The user is then taken through a decision-tree driven intake process that ensures that all the information is collected correctly for a specific matter type.  

Step 2: The Service Catalogue and Triage

Upon determining the specific matter or legal service requested, the request is processed alongside pre-defined approval and qualification processes to determine routing to a specialized lawyer or to a self-serve legal tool.

Step 3: Resolving the Request

After submitting the initial request through the initial digital access point, users can self-resolve their request via self-service to generate a standard document with minor variations and receive the answer they are seeking OR they can connect with the best-fit lawyer to take up the matter with the best, complete information to begin working on the matter.  

Step 4: Requests Reporting and Management
From here, the legal team gains access to the visibility and management of requests where they can track and gain analytics on the type, volume and status of requests to measure operational efficiency, assess potential risk and enable data-driven decisions.

Next Steps to Elevate Your Legal Services

Checkbox is the leading legal service request management platform that is used by legal teams such as Coca-Cola Europacific, BMW, Telstra, Woolworths and more, to build intake and triage systems that are configured to their specific needs while providing direct time savings and operational visibility over legal requests from the business. Contact our team of legal technology experts to determine the next best steps for you in streamlining your LSRM workflows.

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