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Improve Efficiency By Outsourcing Legal Research

February 23, 2023

Legal Talent Outsourcing

How Corporate Legal Departments Improve Efficiency by Outsourcing Large-Scale Legal Research

The mandate of most corporate legal departments never changes, which is, in general, to help the business accelerate opportunities and avoid risks in the process. That’s no easy task, and it becomes even more difficult in times like these when many companies are trimming staff and reducing budgets, leaving corporate legal departments to do just as much, often with less.

The greater the reach of a business, the more challenging it is for a legal department to keep up. It’s one thing to operate in a single state. It’s far more complicated to be tasked with guiding a business past legal landmines when operations touch all 50 states. And that sort of reach is increasingly common, because while a business may not have physical operations across, its digital footprint—from customers to remote workers—may be pervasive across the United States.

That has serious implications for a business at a time when, for example, many states are implementing data privacy laws which have unique rules and penalties for noncompliance. And that’s just one type of law or regulation that may differ across all 50 states. It’s no surprise, therefore, that in-house lawyers, who are tasked with gaining a comprehensive understanding of the legal requirements for operating in each state, often struggle to keep up given everything else they’re responsible for.

The tool that is most commonly used to help address the challenges of keeping up with the laws and regulations across the country is a 50-state legal research survey. 50-state surveys can cover a wide range of topics, including employment law, tax law, data privacy, consumer protection law, and product liability law, to name just a few. They are commonly used by businesses with expansive operations, particularly those in heavily regulated industries such as insurance and financial services.

Some of the benefits include:

  1. Compliance with state laws: Ensure compliance with the laws and regulations of all 50 states, reducing the risk of legal penalties or fines.
  2. Market expansion: Help a company identify potential new markets and assess the legal requirements for doing business in those states, allowing the company to make informed decisions about expanding into new territories.
  3. Better risk management: Identify potential legal risks and take steps to mitigate them.
  4. Improved decision-making: Gain valuable information that can be used to inform business decisions, such as which states to target for marketing efforts, which states to avoid because of restrictive laws, or which states to focus on for business expansion.
The problem for many corporate legal departments is that their in-house lawyers don’t have the time to conduct exhaustive research like this, and even if they did it likely wouldn’t be the best use of their time. For many legal departments, the best option is to outsource 50-state legal research surveys, as well as other large-scale legal and regulatory research projects, to a non-law firm specialist in legal research outsourcing.

Best Practices for Outsourcing Legal Research

Outsourcing legal research, particularly for something as wide-ranging and important as a 50-state survey, isn’t as simple as finding a freelance lawyer to take on the project. You want to be sure who you outsource to knows what they’re doing. And while you could send the project to your corporate law firm, it’s typically not cost-effective to have a junior associate billing tons of time for this type of work.

A partner like Lexitas, on the other hand, has the capability and experience to get large-scale legal research done in an efficient and effective manner. Having worked on numerous similar projects in the past, we’ve found that some of the key factors that lead to a successful outcome include:

  1. Define objectives: Before starting research, clearly define the objectives of the research and what information is to be gathered. This will help ensure that the survey is focused and comprehensive.
  2. Assign a team of research experts: The survey should be conducted by a team of legal experts who have experience working on large-scale research for legal departments.
  3. Stay organized: Keep track of the research findings in a clear and organized manner, as this will make it easier to analyze the data and identify patterns and trends.
  4. Regularly update the research: The laws and regulations in each state are subject to change, so it is important to regularly update the research to ensure that the findings are accurate and up-to-date. This is easier said than done, however, especially when it comes to updating a 50-state legal research survey. Having follow-up mechanisms in place, such as various database alerts, is key for keeping research up to date.
By effectively outsourcing large-scale legal research projects, a company can build a comprehensive understanding of important laws and regulations that provide valuable information to inform business decisions and help the company operate more efficiently and effectively.

To learn more about Lexitas’ legal research outsourcing services, please contact us.
Author Image

Meron Hewis

President, Legal Talent Division

Meron Hewis is the President of the Legal Talent Outsourcing Division of Lexitas. Ms. Hewis has over 20 years of experience in legal consulting, project management, and alternative legal talent outsourcing solutions. She is a thought leader in the industry, providing unique legal solutions and designing the operations of various legal programs internationally.


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