Spending your surplus budget – on something you can use all year round...

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If you’ve got extra budget you need to use up before the end of the year, it might be tempting to spend it on something short-lived and flashy.

Instead, put it towards something now that you and your team will benefit from in the long-term – whether to get a head-start on planning, to free up time spent on mandatory admin, or to add simple and practical tech to your everyday processes. We spoke to LOD solutions experts and SYKE practice directors to come up with 6 key ways you could make improvements with surplus budget in 2021, and beyond…

1) Fill a gap in your existing tech

Many legal teams use legal tech to complement and enhance their manual work. Often this operates like a well-oiled machine, but sometimes it’s possible for them to make more of their tech. If you’re in this situation then a pre-packaged solution could be a good choice. It requires minimal design changes and can therefore be implemented very quickly, out of the box, for a set price. The packages, for example SYKE’s Transaction Management pre-pack, are designed to deliver a workable solution and get you up and running ASAP, delivering confidence and benefits early.

2) Get your documents in order

If you’re struggling to get a handle on your documents, it’s worth looking at Document Extraction as a service. You don’t need to invest in lots of new tech, and you’ll end up with all your contracts in one place with the added bonus of extracted meta-data which will allow you to search, categorise and ultimately have a much better handle on all your contracts, all year round.

If you’re a global company with many different templates or precedents for the same type of agreement (e.g. NDA, MSA, etc), then you could also consider hiring a consultant to look at these contracts across your organisation and see whether you can consolidate into the minimum number possible. At the end of process you will have variations only by language – and all jurisdictional variations will fit into those language templates.

3) Banish admin guilt

Are you one of those people who puts off admin tasks until “the nice quiet week before Christmas”? And when you get to that week before Christmas, do you put off dealing with it anyway and leave it to the future version of you to look at in the new year?

If you’re nodding in agreement, you might benefit from spending your remaining budget on some paralegal resource to help tackle some of these tasks before you shut down for the year. It’s a cost-effective way of getting through some of those jobs you’ve been meaning to do. Onboard someone now to get on top of 2021’s admin, re-structure your folders and complete filing, then work with them in the early new year to tackle the 2022 mountain from the start.

4) Build a connection

Ever wanted to ensure that all your contracts or documents signed electronically end up in your digital repository automatically?

It’s fairly typical to manually download fully signed documents from eSignature and store them in digital repositories, but with a fairly simple and standard integration you can automate the storage of your contracts post-signature.

5) Extend your team

Even though the festive break is just around the corner, many businesses see a peak in workflow at year end and this inevitably needs commercial legal input. If your team are struggling with workload, there is an answer! – you can bring in a Managed Team as a quick and effective way of getting on top of things.

Built with the right blend of in-house lawyers and paralegals to tackle the specific workstreams you’re facing, their commercially focused advice will help you manage work efficiently without racking up the hours. So, you’ll be able to clear your desk and enter the new year fresh and ready for more strategic projects.

6) Get in shape for 2022

If you’re not sure where to begin with your legal operations and tech journey, then a health check could be the right place to start. The process can really help you to drill down into your procedures and guide you in your future planning. You’ll come out of 2021 with a really clear agenda for change and know where you most need to allocate your budget for the new year – a real win-win.

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