The digitalization of the Legal Department

Legal Tech: where to start, with instant benefits

Just as our entire social life is unstoppably and irreversibly digitizing, so is the corporate lawyer confronted today with an increasingly digitizing business world. The corporate lawyer faces the major challenges to organize a complete digital transition in a very short time frame. Legal counsels must look for tools to manage the ever-increasing mass of digital information and to use it efficiently, but also to support and fill in their new role in the organization.

We will discuss the importance of digitalization to guarantee success, common mistakes and pitfalls and 4 tips for a successful digitalization process. Finally, we will explain to you how Knowliah supports the corporate legal department.

You can download this content as a complete overview in a white paper or you can find separated articles beneath.

Table of content

  1. Why you need digitalization to guarantee success

  2. Four common mistakes and pitfalls

  3. Four tips for successful next steps in your digitalization

  4. How does Knowliah support the corporate legal department?

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In this document you will find various insights on the importance of digitalization to guarantuee success, common mistakes & pitfalls and 4 tips for a successful digitalization process. Last but not least, we will explain to you how Knowliah supports the corporate legal department.

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Why you need digitalization to guarantee success

Like the irreversibly digitizing social world, the corporate lawyer is confronted with an increasingly digitizing business world, and faces the major challenges to organize a digital transition in a very short time frame. Legal counsels must look for tools to manage the ever-increasing mass of digital information, to use it efficiently, and to support and fill in their new role in the organization.

The legal department becomes a driver in the business, and therefore needs to collaborate in a much more efficient way, and to be able to report on its activities, and contract risks. Chaotic folder structures, individual mailboxes, and paper binders simply won’t do the trick anymore!

There is a massive supply of Legal Tech ready to be discovered. Many of these solutions are based on advanced techniques such as artificial intelligence, which require highly specialized knowledge and are still experimental. This brings us immediately to the challenge of Legal Tech, namely how we avoid the legal world becoming the arena of experimental and uncertain projects that won’t necessarily help the corporate legal department?

Legal Tech can support your legal department today in bringing the following benefits:

  • Increase efficiency
  • Support your push-back strategy
  • Ensure compliance

But where to start? Which Legal tech will create a foundation on which I can further build and continue the digitalization process? Therefore it is important to think about what to do first, what are my “burning platforms”? What will help me now delivering a better and faster service, deliver quick wins and results, and enable me to prepare for the future, without having to entirely change the way of working? Key here is to find solutions that won’t impose high levels of discipline, because that simply won’t work!

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4 common mistakes and pitfalls...

  1. Clean up the folders

Once again, you have the courage to clean up the existing folder structures, on the shared drive(s) and in your mailbox, to adapt them to the changed organization. Since your organization will definitely change again in the near future, and you can never please everyone’s logic, this might be a lost effort, again.

Classifying important information in your individual mailboxes, in a chaotic shared folder structure, and in paper binders, won’t support the digitalization of your department.

  1. SharePoint is the solution

In a lot of organizations SharePoint is present. This doesn’t mean that SharePoint is configured to the requirements of the legal department. Huge amounts of time need to be invested by the IT department and the legal department trying to understand and match the capabilities and functionalities with the functional requirements.

A SharePoint environment, specifically for the legal department, is therefore never out-of-the-box and ready-to-install. Often the presented solution in SharePoint is just another location, resulting in the exact same issues, as one has with a classic folder structure on a shared drive. When the SharePoint solution offers the possibility to work with metadata, in most cases, no one has the discipline to add them on each stored document or email.

  1. Add a use case specific application

With the massive supply of Legal Tech, one can introduce many applications for different use cases: entity management, contract management, litigation, IP, reporting, … The art is to find the one(s) that fits most, for the legal department, fitting in the current IT infrastructure, and integrating with the business?

In a selection for the introduction of a new application, the question should rather be: what do I want to achieve, with what ROI? Because centralizing information in another application, without actually increasing efficiency, supporting knowledge management, doesn’t make any sense. And as we all know, people don’t like change, so if I have to centralize information in another way, without any benefits for the user, it won’t happen!

  1. Ask the business to change

In order to achieve the new objectives, a legal department interacts more with the business, sitting more than before in the driver’s seat. But imposing an entire new way of working/collaborating onto the business doesn’t support the objectives of the legal department.

The business won’t go to the application, specifically designed for the legal department, to upload for example contracts or important information, such as mails for example. This asks for too much effort and discipline, leaving the legal department without control. So the digitalization of the legal department, needs to integrate with the environment the business is using!

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Want to know more?

Discover Knowliah for Legal Teams in action. The digital workplace for all corporate legal professionnals!



You also can contact us to request a custom demo, and we will show you a customized version of the application, adapted to your requirements, at your convenience.

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4 tips for successful next steps in your digitalization

1. Ensure people have easy and secured access to the information they need. Collaborators spend a minimum of 1.5 hours per day searching for information and re-inventing the wheel!

Your team is losing precious hours every day, searching for the right information and recreating content they couldn't find. Therefore enabling them to quickly find what they need, to re-use what already exists, will increase efficiency, certainly also for newcomers, to become operational much faster, and avoid mistakes!

The transformation towards a digital legal department starts with the centralization and digitalization of the legal matters, and all related documents and email, securely, and making sure one can find what he/she needs, and support the re-use of what already exists.

Obviously not everything can or needs to be centralized. Probably certain information and knowledge will remain on internal sources such as shared drives or SharePoint sites, or external sources like websites. Making the information in those sources accessible through powerful search engines will support the legal professional, and make them successful.

The legal professional, weather it is a legal counsel, a paralegal, or an assistant, they will want to have the possibility to full-text search, the “Google” way, across everything: documents, email, attachments, matters, articles, presentations, … And full-text means inside the documents, even pdf-files and scanned documents, inside the body of emails and their attachments.

2. Support and automate the classification of documents and email as much as possible. Manually adding a large number of metadata/key words/properties simply doesn’t work, as nobody does it consistently!

In order to ensure efficient and consistent centralization of key information, by the legal department, but also by the business, automatic classification of documents and email, with the least effort possible, by adding meta-data automatically for example, will support the success of the centralization.

The automatic classification of emails, respecting security and privacy, of the legal professionals in the organization, but maybe also of the business, will bring a huge added value to the centralization of key information. Including email in the new digital environment is crucial, as most activity still runs through the email boxes.

The rich set of available meta-data, as a result of the automatic classification, on the centralized information, but maybe also on information remaining in other sources, will also enhance the search experience (as they can serve as filters),generate automated notifications, and support reporting capabilities.

3. Avoid having to completely change your way of working. Remember that most internal and external communication will continue to go through Email, so make sure that this is part of your solution!

Email accounts are still driving everything, and the volumes are growing rapidly. You open them in the morning and close them in the evening. A lot of internal and external information and expertise passes through this medium, but often remains stored in individual mail accounts, not shared nor accessible for others.

How can the legal department keep a 360° view on a matter, with all its related correspondence, with no effort in the classification of emails?

One of your first quick wins to successfully support a digitalization is to make sure that somehow your Emails, either from your individual accounts, and/or from shared mailboxes, are automatically processed, directly from your accounts, without you having to do anything different! Of course, you need to be able to remain full control on what can be processed or not, respecting security and privacy.

In order to support the possibility to created automated 360° single views on for example a specific matter like a contract or a litigation, the overview of the related correspondence, being Emails, will be key to ensure completeness!

4. Let the business lead the negotiation, and be supportive, while keeping control. Automatically capture their documents and Emails in your Matters.

The roles & responsibilities are changing. The legal department needs to push back tasks to the business, increase its own efficiency and yet keep control: Important information (contracts, emails, …) remains scattered in different business departments, and no one has the discipline to properly centralize or classify all important information in a correct and complete way.

How can the legal department still keep control, and avoid risks, without having to do everything by themselves, or impose an entirely different way of working to the business in terms of collaboration, typically for example in the contract lifecycle process?

Key will be to offer the business a way to support the legal department by centralizing as much as key relevant information and data as possible, without having them to really change the way they are working. Automatic centralization and classification of documents and email they are handling are therefore again the key for success in the digitalization and increase in efficiency of the legal department.

In order to get the business on board, they will want something in for them too:

  • Secure access for them to the legal information relevant to them, will enable them to work more efficiently as well, and avoid mistakes.
  • Assistance in the automatic creation of contracts for example, initiated from their own environment, and this while the legal department keeps control.

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How does Knowliah support the corporate legal department?

What Knowliah does for Legal teams

Store all of your information in seconds.

Our state-of-the-art Intelligent Information Management engines and Smart Search will present the right people only with what they were looking for, respecting security. 

Just enough relevant information, when and where needed:

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3 in 1 solution

Knowliah for Legal Teams is a modular platform, combining 3 solutions legal counsels are looking for, in 1 intelligent solution:

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A unique combination

Knowliah for Legal Teams is designed by and for legal counsels, supported by the underlying unique information and knowledge management Knowliah technology and expertise. The digital and central environment, combining document and knowledge management, enables you to manage your key legal information in a smart, simple and secure way: your matters (contracts, litigation, advice, …),entities, all related documents and email, and legal knowledge. This implies that information in the context of a matter, is also instantly available for searches and questions in an entire different context.

Knowliah developed a base architecture where the core technology of the Enterprise Search solution is also applied to the Knowliah Legal Database. This implies that also the Knowliah Legal Database uses the same full-text indexing and auto-classification as the Knowliah Enterprise Search. Both solutions seamlessly integrate into one environment for the end-user.

Thanks to this integration the user is presented with one consistent environment to search and find information, knowledge and expertise in external sources (portals, network drives, other document management systems, …) and in the own Knowliah Legal Database with specific Document Management features available, including Matter and Entity Management.

Both the search engine and the document & case (matter) management system (Knowliah Legal Database) make use of the same meta-data model with auto-classification. Now it becomes even possible to promote files out of a search result on external sources to the Knowliah Legal Database. The respective document is then uploaded in the Knowliah Legal Database.

With Knowliah all above is mainly out-of-the-box and ready-to-install, including many standard available features like the powerful auto-classification engine (adding meta-data automatically) applied on documents after simple drag&drop and emails after automatic centralization directly from the mailbox, text-mining, reporting modules, Knowledge Watchers (notifications),…

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One meta-data driven solution

Knowliah is completely metadata driven. Metadata (properties or tags) are based on your organizational model and take into account different languages and interpretations of values. Pre-defined models are available, and fine-tuned on your specific context.

Relationships between document, e-mails, Matters or Knowledge Domains are completely virtual and flexible. There are no physical uploads or connections between documents and matters, nor are documents stored in locations or physical folders. The Knowliah Repository is a corpus of objects (documents, emails, etc.) with their metadata.

In order to avoid the manual adding of metadata to documents and email for the users, Knowliah automatically adds all relevant metadata to each individual document and email (including its attachments). To do so, Knowliah uses content analytics with technologies such as Natural Language Processing (NLP, Artificial Intelligence (AI),Topic Clustering and Neural Networks. The user, or someone he/she assigned, always has the possibility to validate, the automatically attributed metadata.

As an option, the same metadata are also automatically attributed to all documents and email (including their attachments) stored in other in scope sources than the Knowliah Repository, such as for example Shared network Drives, MS SharePoint sites, other document libraries, and even relevant websites.

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Want to know more?

Discover how Knowliah will make you save over 50% of your time classifying and searching for information. You can store documents and e-mails for example in as little as 2 to 15 seconds and then let our automated contextualization engine work in the background so the information can later be found when needed, and excluded when not required.

Discover our guide-through demo for legal teams:


You can also request a free custom demo!

You can contact us to request a custom demo, and we will show you a customized version of the application, adapted to your requirements, at your convenience.

Request a demo