Two thirds of legal departments are currently involved in employee safety issues and they expect return-to-work policies to be one of the top legal priorities going forward, as half of Chief Legal Officers (51%) anticipate their organizations will return to a normal level of operation in the first half of 2021, according to Deloitte 2020 Legal Department COVID-19 Survey, conducted on legal and compliance executives in US.
Regulatory issues (47%), employee benefits (44%), contractual and supply chain impact (43%) and cyber issues (42%) come next in the top of the COVID-19-related legal issues, according to the survey respondents.
The majority of legal executives (78%) indicate their workload has increased because of COVID-19, as their departments address numerous pandemic-related issues while actively participating in business continuity and cybersecurity efforts and as cost-containment measures forced reductions in workforces. According to the survey, 81% of organizations that place cybersecurity among the top three legal priorities report having a plan to handle the legal ramifications of a cyberattack and 55% of organizations facing contractual and supply chain disruptions have started analyzing impacted contracts.
“Legal departments were already facing a series of pre-COVID-19 challenges, such as the pressure to increase operations’ efficiency while containing costs and to collaborate more closely with other areas of the business. At the same time, the pandemic has intensified expectations, as business leaders turn to the legal teams for informed perspectives before making decisions. In order to move forward, the first options at hand for legal departments are to adjust the operating models and to adopt new technology solutions, such as specialized chatbots and solutions for automating some processes,” said Simina Mut, Partner at Reff & Associates | Deloitte Legal and leader of the Deloitte Legal’s Global Centre of Excellence and Deloitte Legal’s Management Consulting practice in Central Europe.
In order to meet rising demand, 62% of respondents expect legal digital investments to grow even as other cost containment measures are implemented. Organizations are investing in technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP) and robotic process automation (RPA) and they are transforming their approach to contract lifecycle management (CLM).
In Romania, Deloitte and Reff & Associates | Deloitte Legal partnered with Druid, Future WorkForce and RPAbox, leading local companies in the field of digital transformation, to create technology solutions for legal, HR and financial departments, such as chatbots and automation of repetitive and manual processes through RPA and proprietary natural language processing algorithms.