Three months into the pandemic, expectations about budgeting in legal departments have changed. Survey data shows that only 19 percent of in-house legal departments expected an increase in their budgets as a whole heading into 2020 — but 51 percent acknowledged that litigation ranked as the highest risk for increased legal costs, followed by compliance at 22 percent. The specter of Covid-19-related litigation has, for many, become a full-blown fear. “We have a small lull right now, but I think it’s going to hit with a vengeance,” says Linda Luperchio, Director of Information Lifecycle Governance & E-Discovery at The Hanover Insurance.
Heading into 2020, in-house legal departments were looking to reduce risks and costs and increase operational efficiency through technology adoption. Given the reduction in manpower that some departments are facing, technology will play a key role in the many e-discovery and compliance tasks that legal teams must deal with. And given that litigation costs are likely to increase, saving money elsewhere makes sense.
For years, technology adoption in legal departments has been a challenge, but that may be changing. According to the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Chief Legal Officer’s Survey, more than half of legal department leaders are planning to adopt a new legal technology or have done so recently. Technology adoption is one of the ways to reduce e-discovery spend, as the survey data shows, and it creates a cascading effect that helps cut costs across the board.