How Can Law Departments Benefit from Entity Management Software?

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5 min read

As corporations expand their reach to markets across the globe, the amount of information they generate increases exponentially. The corporation’s legal team must find ways of managing this vast store of ever-changing data, wrangling it into usable units that help support corporate initiatives and aid in business decision-making.

Entity management software is a crucial tool for organizations, providing ways to track and use information, centralize data sources, and collaborate with colleagues from anywhere in the world.  In a business environment that is constantly raising its expectations, legal teams are using the advantages of entity management software systems to articulate their distinct contributions to the organization’s overall success.

Manage Changes in Corporate Data

At its most basic level, entity management software provides a legal team with current information concerning regulatory changes and corporate structures.  Due to increased regulatory standards and more stringent government scrutiny, corporations need a system than can capture and track a wide variety of changeable corporate data, including:

  • Legal names; office addresses and contact information;
  • When the legal entity was formed;
  • When it was sold, merged or dissolved (if applicable);
  • Entity directors and officers names and dates of service;
  • Whether the entity operates in the United States;
  • Its country of formation;
  • Entity type;
  • Company securities information;
  • Subsidiary and parent company information (when applicable);
  • Registered agents and related information;
  • Critical entity dates (annual meetings, board meetings, etc.); and
  • Critical entity records (articles of incorporation, bylaws, etc.)

In addition to keeping all of these factors current, entity management software can help the legal team understand the overall picture of the corporation and each of its entities by creating organizational charts.  These charts visualize what might be a sprawling and confusing company and make understanding legal ownership easy.

Legal teams are expected to provide advice on any number of subjects from across the organization.  In order to fulfill those requests, they need the most current information. In the past, this might have meant spending time poring over manually updated spreadsheets or tracking down subject experts for help.  But entity management software allows the legal team to manage legal requests as they are submitted.  Colleagues can submit requests, set deadlines, and provide the relevant documents, emails, or other supporting material, ensuring that the legal team has all the data they need.

Centralize Data to Ensure Compliance and Reduce Risk

Corporate legal teams are now being called on to take the lead in managing legal risk and protecting shareholder interests.  In doing so, they need a safe, secure way to deal with sensitive financial data.  Entity management systems create a single source of data, reducing complications and misunderstandings that result from redundant or variant reports.

By streamlining legal processes into a single platform, legal teams can offer their organizations a central hub for legal documents and templates.  More importantly, they can increase their control of valuable data and minimize the risk of abuse.  Structured workflows and role-dependant work protocols help safeguard pertinent data while allowing legal teams to work confidently with collaborators both inside and outside the company. In addition, entity management systems keep track of filing deadlines, overdue tasks, and compliance policies, helping your company avoid legal hassle and penalty fees.

Collaborate Across the Organization and Around the World

The increase of the global marketplace has made it necessary for colleagues from across the globe to come together to get business done. Entity management technologies cannot erase the physical distance, but they can help bridge the gaps.  Easy and versatile data sharing can be the next best thing to sitting across the table from your faraway coworker.

In addition, entity management systems can help create standardized processes that remain constant as the information moves from country to country. These technologies can be customized on a country-to-country basis, alleviating the potential for misunderstanding or mistakes that result from language barriers or local reporting differences.

Communicate the Value of the Legal Team’s Contribution

Corporate legal teams face ongoing pressures to do more with less, struggling to remain at peak performance even as budgets continue to tighten.  A 2017 survey conducted by the Global Counsel Leaders Circle Benchmark predicted that more and more in-house teams find themselves in the position of fighting for company resources. As companies come to depend on their legal team to offer sound advice and perform as decision-making partners, in-house teams are challenged to clearly articulate their value to company.

One way of doing this is through the use of Key Performance Indicators (KPI). These metrics define the core goals for the organization as a whole and offer a way to measure progress towards those goals.  Unfortunately, almost half of the respondents to the Benchmark survey indicated that were not taking advantage of their companies’ KPI initiatives.

By disregarding the organization’s KPI’s, these legal teams are sending the unspoken message that they don’t care how the rest of the company measures performance or allocates resources.  A more fruitful approach would be to seek ways to align the legal team’s budget request to the larger business strategy.

Entity software management can help you demonstrate how legal functions dovetail into strategic goals like compliance and risk management, and allowing you to map out the potential costs of ill-advised decisions.

Choosing an Entity Management Platform

Adopting the right entity management software package for your legal team can be a complicated decision. You need to balance the desire for convenience and ease of use with the security of staunch protection.  Almost all contemporary options offer web-based application features that make it easier for disparate teams to come together on a single case or project.  As with any new program, integration is critical.

Be certain any upgrade or change will work with your existing systems. Before signing on with a vendor, have them detail their support infrastructure. A quality vendor should provide support during installation, ongoing support, and support during system upgrades. Expect vendors to take an active interest in your organization as they try to suit their technology offerings to your team’s needs.