The job of a venture capital (VC) backed business is to grow. In-house lawyers for these businesses are onboard. They want to drive growth. But often inbound requests for legal support overwhelm the available resources. In the current macro-economic climate, tech businesses are tightening budgets. And this new, frugal mindset puts pressure on in-house teams to do even more with even less. Something has got to give. The deus ex machina (the God from the literal machine) in this play is Playbook Automation. Read on to find out more 👇

What are the biggest challenges facing tech GCs right now?

Due to the current macro-economic climate, venture-backed tech companies are under pressure to do more with less. Fundraising is the toughest it’s been for years. Valuation multiples have collapsed. Founders are focused on increasing runway, decreasing burn, and making sure their growth is sustainable.

First, hiring budgets have been slashed. That legal counsel hire you'd planned to support commercial contracting? Not this year. Meanwhile, sales teams chase deals with unchecked enthusiasm, and new contract requests seem to arrive in your inbox every minute. Clearly, tech GCs must find new approaches to managing the ever-increasing traffic of legal requests.

What approaches are tech GCs taking to deal with these challenges?

While developing Legal OS, we've heard the experiences of >100 tech GCs. The two most common approaches to managing the high volume of legal requests were hiring legal counsels and hiring technology. Now, with tighter budgets for in-house teams, we're seeing tech GCs hire technology more often than not instead of legal counsels. Now this technology needs to deliver.

In the last few years, tools to help legal teams organise their work, such as CLMs (contract lifecycle management) and ticketing apps (Jira, Asana, Trello), have been adopted by tech GCs. These organisational tools help tech GCs track and prioritise their workload, but they fall short when it comes to impact and getting sh*t done.

When an in-house team can't keep up with the volume of requests, automation is essential. In high growth businesses, deal volume will only increase, hiring too. Automation tools have an immediate and dramatic impact on task speed. Write an article with (content automation tool) and it might be 10x faster than writing the same article with ms word. This increase in task speed eases the volume of incoming requests and, in some cases, to outsource it to an automation tool entirely.

Tech GCs can be so much more than a cost-centre... with help

Tech GCs are responsible for managing all legal aspects of their company's operations, from compliance to contract negotiations. Founders rely on GCs for strategic guidance. Sales leaders rely on the support of GCs in getting critical deals over the line. Therefore, GCs have significant insight into the commercial opportunities and exposure of their business. Few other roles in the business can match this level of insight.

For tech GCs—and the entire legal team—to leverage the unique position they hold in their company, they must reduce the noise of incoming legal requests. Many of these requests are repeatable and predictable.

By automating these previously manual tasks, tech GCs see the following advantages:

  • The legal team is no longer seen as a blocker, but instead as an enabler.
  • Time is freed up to focus on strategic, needle moving legal work.
  • Centralised standards can be easily enforced, ensuring the optimal positions are used to limit commercial and legal exposure.

A new category in legal technology for in-house teams has recently emerged. This category is Playbook Automation (PBA). PBA software performs the tasks previously assigned to legal counsels, especially junior legal counsels. PBA works by enabling the legal team to encode their standards, best practises and know-how into playbooks.

By encoding their know-how into playbooks, tech GCs can offer self-executing responses to non-legal teams. This empowers non-legal teams to self-serve legal support and drive deals independently. The impact this can have on growth is dramatic. By removing legal as a bottleneck, deal speed increases. Further, by building legal & commercial playbooks that scale with the business, tech GCs can ensure the best terms are negotiated. And with intuitive interfaces built from the ground up for non-legal teams, tech GCs minimise the risk of rogue contracting. The commercial impact is tangible. One high-growth tech company approximates a 180K USD loss of revenue due to the repeated misuse of a single bad clause. Resolving just this single anti-pattern is a game changer. This is tangible commercial upside identified & actioned by legal.

This puts in-house legal on the map.

Find out how automate your playbooks, control chaos, & drive growth with Legal OS.