By Ana Suárez Garnelo, general counsel at Haya Real Estate
The digital transformation of the legal sector, specifically in the real estate industry, has brought several challenges that both internal counsels and law firms must address in order to succeed in the modern in-house industry.
The strong needs for relevant investments in technology, in order to ensure improvements in efficiency and productivity of all sectors, cannot be ignored, and this is also a reality of the legal functions, either internal or external.
These are some of the top challenges that legal professionals working for our industry are likely to face in the new year:
Embracing technology: Legal professionals must be comfortable with using new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, to streamline processes and improve efficiency. This includes adopting electronic document management systems and using online tools for legal research and analysis.
Managing the constant-growing volume of data: As the legal industry becomes more digitized, the volume of data that legal professionals must manage will continue to grow. This includes electronic documents, emails, and in general, digital records related to corporate transactions and litigation. Legal professionals will need to develop effective strategies for storing, organizing, and accessing this data in order to keep up with the demands of their practice and to gain efficiency and productivity in the process and interpretation of such data.
Data privacy and cybersecurity: With the increasing reliance on technology in the legal industry, data privacy and cybersecurity have become major concerns. Legal professionals must be aware of the risks associated with handling sensitive client information and, working closely with compliance and IT teams, take steps to protect against data breaches and cyber-attacks. This includes implementing strong password policies, using secure file-sharing systems, and training employees on being conscious of best practices for data security (weakest link in the chain is always the human factor).
Managing remote teams: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in remote work, and legal professionals must be able to effectively manage and communicate with their teams remotely. This includes setting clear expectations and goals, using technology to stay connected, and providing support and resources to ensure that team members are able to work effectively from home with the appropriate tools that enable and improve this new working environment (concurrent document editing, digital discussions, simultaneous content interaction, etc).
Ana Suárez Garnelo is general counsel and secretary to the Board of Directors at Haya Real Estate, Cerberus Capital Management Group.