September 26 by Maria Pergolino
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
The 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
To 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
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.”
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.
Some resources the team shared during the session that may be useful to you:
- Make Legal a Digital Workplace
- Use this link to download a sample OneNote template for a Legal Playbook
Apttus also has information that may be useful as you look to leverage technology in your legal team: