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Flex IT up: How flexible legal talent can power through IT contracts

Legility 02 / 16 / 21

Changes in government regulations and seasonal upticks in the volume of IT contracts can result in a heavy lift for in-house legal departments.

An effective way to flex up your legal team to power through these influxes is to use flexible legal talent. Legility provides attorneys with the appropriate expertise who can step right in on drafting and negotiating IT contracts for your company without the additional or sustained cost or ramp-up of hiring more in-house counsel. Once you have selected an attorney, the same attorney will keep working with you.

IT contract management: Challenges for the legal team

Some companies lack the sophisticated contract management systems or specific subject matter experience that are recommended for drafting IT contracts. Others struggle with a consistently high or a seasonal spike in contracts that cannot be adequately managed by existing in-house counsel.

Regardless of which specific challenge your company faces, you’ll need a depth of legal expertise to conduct a proper risk assessment for these contracts. Larger value contracts can be long, dense, and complicated, especially when privacy and security issues overlap with IT components.

When in-house counsel needs to focus their attention on higher value work, bottlenecks can occur with your contracts. Juggling low-value and high-volume contracts while ironing out highly complicated contracts not only slows the workflow, but it can cause burnout among the in-house legal team.

Benefits of flexible legal talent for IT contract management

Legility’s flexible talent model gives you the agility to optimize your team size when your IT contract needs change. Given the highly variable nature of IT contracts, having a flexible talent resource to help with the lift during heavy increases in workload provides a much more cost-effective solution than adding full-time headcount. Flex attorneys’ hourly rates are also favorable when compared to what you would pay for a lawyer from a firm.

Your legal and business teams will appreciate having a relief valve during these hectic times while having the peace of mind that deals are continuing to move forward.

Having a bench of flex attorneys on an as-needed basis to handle routine agreements also frees up in-house counsel to spend their time on more complicated, high-value, and/or high-risk agreements. An experienced IT flex attorney can also lend support on issues with which the in-house team might not have in-depth experience. Lastly, if your needs change, it is easy to flex up or down. If the company suddenly sees a downturn in workload or business in general, it is much easier to adjust by reducing or eliminating a flexible resource rather than a full-time employee.

As an example, one client, a tier one research university, recently added one of our flex IT contracts attorneys for approximately 10 hours a week to their team. Another example is one of our Fortune 100 clients, which augments their in-house bench with a dedicated team of Legility flex lawyers who draft and negotiate IT and sales contracts. The team varies in size, typically ranging anywhere from five to 20 attorneys, and the number of hours they bill per month also ebbs and flows with the volume of work.

What to look for in a flexible legal talent staffing partner

A good staffing partner exhibits a desire to understand your business, culture, and the types of attorneys who will thrive in the company. They will brainstorm solutions with you and perhaps suggest ways to add value and efficiency beyond supplying flex attorneys, especially if your company could benefit from an improved process or a managed team. Look for a staffing partner who will provide excellent candidates who have been thoroughly assessed in their expertise, relevant skills for the role, industry experience, and capacity to commit to the job. Legility’s attorney recruiters understand the complexity of IT contract work and the level of professionalism that in-house counsel expects from flex lawyers with whom they will work – and select candidates accordingly.

Last but not least, seek a partner with excellent customer service – one that will communicate with you at every stage of the engagement – from initial sourcing through placement. Certain searches present challenges due to supply and demand, and a good partner will help educate you about market conditions, appropriate rates for the role, and any adjustments you can make to expand your potential candidate pool. This can also include redistributing work that only your legal team has the expertise for and offloading more routine work to flex attorneys.

What to look for in a flexible legal talent for IT contracts management

In selecting candidates for these types of roles, we look at the attorney’s specific expertise, where it was acquired, and how it aligns with the client’s particular contracts – such as licensing, SaaS, cloud, privacy and security.

We also consider the contact at the company whom the attorney will be interacting with, to help determine the best cultural fit. For example, our client might say that our lawyers will be working directly with an inexperienced sales or IT team. We would, in turn, select attorneys with more seasoned experience, temperament, and demeanor to work in that specific setting.

Conclusion

Whether your need is great or small, constant or intermittent, Legility’s bank of flexible legal talent has the expertise, experience, and agility to assist legal departments in drafting and negotiating IT contracts for as long or as short as needed.

Learn more about Legility’s flexible legal talent solutions.

Legility is a legal services company providing data hosting and management, technology-enabled services, consulting, flexible legal talent, and managed review services to in-house law departments and law firms. Legility is not, and none of its affiliates are, a law firm and does not provide legal advice as part of its services and nothing contained herein should be construed as such.

About the authors

Legility
Legility

Legility, a leading provider of technology-enabled legal services, provides consulting, technology, managed solutions, and flexible legal talent to corporations and law firms. The company has more than 1,000 lawyers, engineers, consultants, technology and data specialists, and operational experts serving more than one-third of the Fortune 100 and one-quarter of the Am Law 200. Legility helps its clients improve operational efficiency. By combining people, processes, and technology, Legility offers innovative and bundled solutions that align with how the legal market is increasingly looking to engage. www.legility.com

Lemke_Lisa_Full
Lisa Lemke

Lisa Lemke leads Legility's Talent organization as well as the Atlanta market. As head of Talent, Lisa enriches the lives of thousands of talented lawyers all over the world by helping them forge new career paths - while solving complex legal challenges for Legility clients.

Patty Wise
Patty Wise

Patty Wise provides executive oversight to Legility’s flexible talent business unit, where she  helps clients solve unique legal challenges. Since 2008, she has partnered with Legility clients to provide the right legal talent to build resilient legal organizations across industries, practice areas, and geographies.

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