When Vaishali Lotlikar joined Wanbury Ltd’s legal department sometime in 2014, little did she know that locating a particular contract or assembling a legal brief would involve sifting through piles of documents, and wastage of precious hours and money in the process.
“There was a lot of employee churn in the legal and marketing departments. Nobody really knew where the contracts were kept and what was there in each for the company to keep an eye on,” she recalls.
To streamline operations, Lotlikar and her team gathered all the contracts, digitized the same and put them into a document management system after tagging them for keywords, so that they could be easily searched when accessed from the firm’s servers by authorized personnel. The tool was purchased from PracticeLeague Legaltech Pvt. Ltd, a specialized provider of software and cloud-based solutions for law firms and corporate legal departments.
“I had used their technology at Glenmark and USV,” says Lotlikar, adding that the familiarity helped her get up to speed. “Today, if our international business head wants to know the particulars of a contract, I can get those details within minutes on my laptop—irrespective of the city I’m in.”
This is simply a case in point. As the volume of compliance and other legal requirements increases for companies across industries, technology tools that can ease the legal burden are in great demand. Khaitan and Co., for instance, has been experimenting with technology for quite some time now, according to its chief operating officer Nilanjan Ghose. “We were the first among law firms in India to use software for accounting. Around 2007, we started working with PracticeLeague to develop our own time and billing solution, which is core to our operations.” Over time, he says, the billing solution morphed into what is now known in legal circles as practice management software (PMS). He likens it to an enterprise resource planning software used for operational management by a majority of companies.
For Khaitan and Co., PMS helps in all kinds of processes including accounting, billing, collections, administration and human resource functions. The company is now integrating new modules into it—an attendance module, for instance.
Digital tools are also helping law firms expand in size or scope. “Many of our clients acknowledge that it is because of technology that they could grow from a 50-60 person law firm to one employing 500-600,” says Parimal Chanchani, founder and director of PracticeLeague. And while there are several technology providers operating in the legal space—LexisNexis, LegalSoft, Thomson Reuters (ProLaw), Jurisnet and dozens of others—Chanchani says “nearly 60% of the corporate law departments and over 40 top law firms in India” use its software. […]