Day One just published a study entitled “Covid-19 and legal departments: Feedback for the future”, which was carried out among 50 legal directors and general secretaries of large companies in order to portray the period of containment for legal departments and assess the short-, medium- and long-term prospects.
The crisis of Covid-19 by its sudden, universal and unprecedented characteristics has disrupted the activities of companies and their mode of operation. And in these stormy times, they turned to the legal departments for guidance and reassurance.
The first major lesson of this study is that the crisis has put the Legal Department back at the heart of the company. The Legal Department has been responsive, has adapted to new working conditions and has shown resilience. To an extent that 89% of LDs perceived their role as reinforced or legitimised at the end of the containment period (17 March 2020 – 11 May 2020). “In fact, this crisis has given the Legal Department a role that it should have permanently, i.e. a privileged partner of business, seized very early on, a stakeholder in the decision-making process. “Day One partner Jérôme Rusak points out. 77% of LDs communicated and interacted much more frequently with senior management.
The second major lesson of this period is the quality of the production of teams working from home. The commitment of the teams during this period demonstrated the ability of the legal departments to operate remote working with a high level of productivity. “The period of confinement associated with Covid-19 will be a historical marker in terms of the perception of new work arrangements, starting with remote working. Legal managers anticipate a generalisation of remote working to 2.2 days per week for their teams in the future. “Olivier Chaduteau, managing partner of Day One, anticipates. Psychological and cultural blockages have been overcome by the implementation of widespread, forced and coerced remote working. Despite the distance, despite the human constraints, legal departments have responded, on the one hand, trough the involvement and responsibility of the teams, and on the other hand, through digital technology.
This is the third major lesson of this study: the decisive awareness of the importance of digital for the Legal Department. 87% of legal managers think that the crisis will have a strong impact on the management of change towards more digitization. Indeed, the daily use of videoconferencing, the recognition of the benefits of electronic signatures and the ability to access the resources of the Legal Department via the Cloud or a VPN have overcome the reticence linked to the organisational and digital transformation projects already initiated.
For the legal departments, this period has been both intense and exciting. The challenge for the future will be to capitalize on this period so that the “new normal” is facilitated by a new, more frequent, more fluid and more efficient “smart collaboration” between the Legal Department and the rest of the company.
The fourth major lesson: 10 priorities for the legal departments to foster business recovery
This feedback from the containment period calls for specific actions in the short or medium term. From now on, legal managers must, in parallel with the daily management of cases, understand and implement 10 concrete priority actions to stimulate the resumption of activity.
1. Reviewing priorities with internal clients – Strategic planning
2. Reallocating resources
3. Training operational teams on “best practices” versus “downgraded practices” in containment.
4. Redefining the digital roadmap Short-term / Medium-term
5. Launching a legal cost reduction analysis
6. Accelerating “push” strategies
7. Thinking about tomorrow’s organization (remote working, collaborative, project management, governance of legal information, etc.)
8. Ensuring consistency of legal positions
9. Structuring the Legal Operations function
10. Developing simple self-service contract templates
This study was carried out on the basis of confidential individual interviews conducted by Day One in person or by telephone with 50 legal directors and general secretaries of large companies from 22 May to 20 July 2020.
Day One is a strategy and management consulting firm dedicated to Legal and Compliance. We help our clients, companies and law firms, to align their organisation with strategy at every stage of their business life cycle :
– functional departments (audit, compliance, legal, tax…),
– professional services firms (auditors, lawyers, chartered accountants, notaries, etc.).
Tel. : +33 1 53 30 08 63 – firstname.lastname@example.org