Not surprisingly given the economy, a survey of inhouse legal professionals finds that companies are slowing down or freezing hiring, reducing outside counsel spending, and conducting layoffs.

To help counter these cuts and reduce their workloads, legal departments are increasingly bullish on leveraging legal technology, the survey finds.

The survey by contract management company Lexion polled 450 inhouse legal professionals — general counsel, inhouse counsel, legal operations professionals, contract managers, paralegals and others — across various industries.

Among its key findings:

  • Too much time spent on low-value tasks. Respondents said the top three factors keeping them from doing their jobs well are lack of resources and people (38.37%), being buried in low value or administrative tasks (36.9%) and time wasted keeping track of documents and versions (34.9%).
  • Department headcount not likely to grow. Among respondents, 65% are worried about impacts from the uncertain economy and 69% anticipate cutting spending through reduced outside counsel consultation, hiring freezes, and layoffs.
  • Technology spend is imminent. Amid expectations of layoffs and hiring freezes, 44% of respondents expect to add technology to increase efficiency.
  • Faith in legal tech is high. More than 70% of respondents believe technology helps to increase efficiencies in an economic downturn.
  • Top technology needs. Respondents said their top three technology acquisitions in the next six months all relate to contracting: e-signature software (31.3%), a contract repository (29.4%), and contract review/redlining software (27.6%).

Other high-priority areas of legal tech, according to the survey, include:

  • Contract creation software.
  • Contract analytics/reporting.
  • Legal task management.
  • Discovery.
  • Spend management.
  • File folder storage.
  • General project management.

“Based on survey results and industry projections,” the survey concludes, “it seems safe to assume that legal tech will continue to grow and evolve as more organizations seek digital solutions to create more streamlined workflows and efficient legal departments.”

There is a lot more information in the report, which you can download from Lexion.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.