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  • Writer's pictureRhianne Armstrong

Legal Ops - Legal Front Doors

Updated: Apr 9

Many teams considering implementing Legal Ops often talk about the need for a “Legal Front Door”. But what is this concept and for those starting out and how might one be implemented with little or no budget?



1. What is a Legal Front Door?

A Legal Front Door can be thought of as a first point of contact into a legal team. It can encompass one or more of the processes mentioned in our previous article on Legal Ops. It can offer legal tools, a way of getting in touch with the in-house legal team, and a way for the business to have their questions answered and to self-serve for common tasks.


To start with, find a system that will easily merge into current working practices, such as SharePoint, Google docs/sheets, Slack etc.


If the business is already using intranet pages, create a page or site for the legal team and use this as a base to launch off from here to specific places such as FAQ,  self-serve templates or playbooks. Include the ability to search the site and add a contact form using “smart” inputs such as dropdowns for areas like employment and litigation and encourage the business to go to the guidance area first. Collecting data from these contact requests will help to identify patterns as to which teams are most in contact, what the most common queries are and can inform future training requirements.


Streamlining legal process using a Legal Front Door can enable a small legal team to handle queries in a more timely manner, gather more data to enhance the process further or help to build a business case for further investment into efficiencies such as document or process automation tools.


2. Can I create a Legal Front Door without buying tech?

A Legal Front Door is as much about a process and common understanding as it is about using technology. Any technology that is utilised or implemented should support the new process (rather than dictate the process). For those on a tight budget, it is very possible to use existing or free technology to do this. A good place to start would be using tools the organisation already has access to and is already using as part of their BAU activities. This could be SharePoint, Teams, Google apps or even just Word and Excel.


  • Landing page: This is where business users will arrive at ready to find a solution to their legal issue. This could be a site on the intranet, a Teams channel or Loop, or for Google users a site or Workspace area on Google apps or even a Slack channel.

  • Standard templates and guidance: you’ll need a place to store advice, FAQ and any standard templates you want the business to have access to – again this could be Teams, SharePoint or Google Drive (which also integrates with Slack)

  • Matter management: you want a way to submit and triage any requests from the business so they can be prioritised and dealt with accordingly. This could be by using a Word document, Microsoft Form, Google Form or even an email template.

  • Gather data: using the technology above will allow you to collect the data that is captured either from logs of website visits, search terms or through the data collected on the contact form analysing that data in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets can help to surface trends and identify gaps in the process that cold be further enhanced through additions or training. You can create reports and data visualisations to track these trends.

  • Find out what other business teams use: Check what workflow or process tools other departments like Sales, IT or Marketing are using in case these can be adapted for use by the legal team.


3. What would be the next step (without a big investment?)

Make sure you take time to speak to business users to find out how the Legal Front Door is working for them, and if there are issues that need resolving or improving. If you’ve started with a handful of processes, look to widen the scope of the Legal Front Door by adding in trickier or bigger processes. The launch of your Legal Front Door is the first step on a journey, not the end!

Look at investing in specialised technology for certain processes where are pain points remain. Examples may include:


  • Are more rigorously enforced approvals needed?

  • Do documents or data need to be locked down/permissioned in a better way?

  • Do you want to offer a different, more accessible way to interact with the legal team?


For example, consider if some of the low code solution builders or chatbot tools, which can use the information already developed for the Legal Front Door, could offer a different way of business users finding relevant guidance or assistance.


Summary

In summary, a Legal Front Door helps legal teams to run smoother and speedier services to their business users. The single point of entry provides an easy access point for the business to have a query answered or to self-serve.


When setting up a Legal Front Door, it’s often helpful to know others that have trod this path before -  speak to peers or outside consultants for advice or guidance on right path. It may even be worth speaking to your outside counsel – many of them use tools such as HighQ and may be happy for you to use their instance  to get started. This may be a quick way to get started that can then be enhanced or taken in-house later down the path.


Start small, deliver value to the business and watch your Legal Front Door grow!


Our expert legal technologists and automation lawyers at echo.legal have a great deal of experience in implementing processes and technologies to create or enhance a Legal Operations strategy. If you’d like to discuss how we can work with your legal team, law firm or business on an automation project, contact Julie.Saliba@echo.legal or Will.Sumners@echo.legal.


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