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In-house legal teams can no longer deny the opportunity that intake and triage presents in positioning in-house lawyers as valuable assets to the company. The role itself is evolving, meaning that in-house teams need to optimize their operating models to stay on top of emerging challenges. We have seen with the pandemic that new challenges can quickly arise, and it is the responsibility of in-house legal teams to respond accordingly. Automation and self-service capabilities are necessary tools that every in-house lawyer should utilize to transform their intake and triage processes and improve the access, value and speed of their services.
With 87% of legal requests continuously pouring in from emails, and the rest coming from phone calls and face-to-face conversations, these unstructured methods of legal request collection can create communication gaps. This creates difficulties in progressing legal requests and causes many requests to be ignored. Business users awaiting status updates on their legal requests also have no visibility over the status of their requests, creating a significant bottleneck in internal and customer-facing business processes involving other departments. This often leads to an elevated risk of missed deadlines, lost opportunities, reputational damage and lower profitability. Legal teams must rise to the occasion to solve these issues and prevent further issues from arising.
A digital front door for intake and triage is no longer a 'nice to have', but a 'must have' that every legal department should implement to manage the speed & prioritization of service delivery, generate department data and become the springboard for other legal tools in an organization. There are several ways that legal departments can accomplish this, whether it be through an automation technology platform, or other solutions, it is undeniable that intake and triage processes need an upgrade.
Legal teams should not be put off by the potential hurdle of creating a digital legal front door. Digital options are essential to creating a streamlined intake and triage process, especially for automation. However, if automation is not an option, then simply setting up rules and basic intake procedures and regulations can make the process so much simpler with standardization. For example, a legal front door can also include document automation, approval workflows and self-service advice, which all contribute to improving the legal intake and triage process.
Legal teams are also not the only ones who benefit from a standardized, digital intake and triage process: intake and triage is not a new process, nor is it specific to just the legal function, but all business users receive help from digitizing and standardizing intake and triage. IT departments have been digitizing intake and triage since their inception, with IT help desks and IT service request management. Much like intake and triage for legal teams, service request management relates to core IT practices like incident, problem and change management. This also applies to other departments where HR are already ahead of the curve for service request management, and if legal teams want to elevate their departments, then they will need to manage their requests in a more automated, efficient and effective way.
One of the most common issues is that requests from the business are received in an ad-hoc and decentralized manner. There is little thinking about process improvement, knowledge management, data and visibility. By implementing legal intake and triage automation, legal teams will be able to standardize the intake of requests and automatically triage then. Legal activity that is otherwise not captured in offline conversations, phone calls and email inboxes can be captured and reported on for data-driven insights and further process optimization, removing bottlenecks across the company.
If you are looking to build an effective and scalable in-house legal team, then managing the way that the business makes its requests is an essential part. HR, IT and finance departments have already paved the way for legal departments to adopt automation technologies, thus positioning them as excellent strategic partners to the business. It is time for legal teams to take back their time, work on advancing business value and become strategic enablers.
Meet with our legal automation experts today to evaluate your current intake and triage methods, learn how to get started in building a legal front door for your organization, and capture best practices we've seen with other leading legal teams.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is service request management?
Service request management is the process of using tools to address and ultimately resolve various requests from organization stakeholders.
What is the benefit of automating intake & triage?
1. Faster turnaround time to deliver legal services 2. Increased visibility of legal service requests 3. Standardized instruction from the business 4. Increased lawyer efficiency via prioritization
What is a legal front door?
The ‘Digital Legal Front Door' describes a single point where the business goes to access services from the legal team. It enhances the way that the business interfaces with legal through a blend of self-service and connecting with lawyers.
Evan Wong is the CEO & Co-Founder of Checkbox, a 14x award-winning no code workflow automation platform, and is a listed Forbes 30 Under 30.