September 26 by Maria Pergolino

Life preservers at dock

This week has been an exciting one at Microsoft Envision and Ignite. As a legal professional, you might not think of this conference as a must-attend – but I was very excited to see so much content just for the legal team. I found over 20 sessions specifically for legal, with a mix of content on technology, digital transformation, risk mitigation and productivity.

The highlight of the legal content was a session hosted by Tami Baddeley and Bart Bischoff of Microsoft. The session, A New Digital Experience for Legal Organizations, shared how Microsoft uses technology to be successful.

A New Look at Legal Operations

legal organizations Best PracticesThe Microsoft legal team has 1,400 team members in 108 cities across 54 countries. They have over 650,000 documents in their system. Last fiscal year, this team reviewed 20,000 contracts and signed and stored 55,000 contracts across 160 countries. They had over 100,000 requests for legal help in 22 different languages! To manage this impressive amount of work, Microsoft leverages its own technology and technology from Apttus.

Baddeley and Bischoff stressed that they design for people first, then process optimization, and finally use technology to support the people and processes. They never start with technology – it’s supports the team, not the other way around.

 

Leveraging External Resources

Digital legal organizationsTo maximize this model, they use lots of external resources. They start with self-serve options, then leverage LPOs, and then for negotiation work leverage managed service law firms. There are Microsoft employees and attorneys to help when none of these options can be used. This strategy allows the team to be leaner and more efficient.

The team uses a portal created in Microsoft Dynamics to take requests, which allows the team to track and route requests.

Enabling Legal Operations with Apttus Contract Management

legal organizations at Microsoft

Microsoft legal can then see these requests in a simple view. From here, right in Microsoft Dynamics, Baddeley discussed how the team uses Apttus to create a contact with one click. Apttus then manages and stores the contract. During the session Baddeley mentioned that they previously used a manual contract management system that lacked efficiency and left room for error. She said Apttus provided a one-click experience, “which was a life saver for us.”

Legal Operations Reporting

 

The team then brings their data into Power BI for reporting. Below is a sample report showing the different countries that are leveraging the legal team.

legal organizations

 

The Microsoft team also leverages Microsoft OneNote for their Legal Services Playbook. What’s great about this is it tracks changes and notifies users when something changes. The team simply adds a new tab to the notebook when the team is going to support a new type of contract.

legal organizations

 

legal organizationslegal organizationsFinally, the Microsoft legal team is leveraging Microsoft Teams to host discussions on different topics throughout the group. The team can embed a SharePoint site as well as their OneNote files into the Microsoft Teams view, creating one place for everyone in Legal to work together.

 

Baddeley noted that, in the future, Microsoft Legal will look at how to better apply artificial intelligence in their team.
Almost all the attendees in this session were from IT. It was great to see IT managers so focused on improving technology for their legal teams.

Additional Resources

Some resources the team shared during the session that may be useful to you:

Apttus also has information that may be useful as you look to leverage technology in your legal team:

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