Mitratech, provider of applications for the inhouse legal department sector (including matter management, e-billing, and GRC management automation) today announced the results of its 2011 Legal IT Spending Survey. This found that legal department IT budgets will increase or remain the same despite the current economic slowdown. Mitratech's 2011 survey polled legal departments across the United States about their IT spending plans, including questions about the technologies they currently invest in and which technologies they plan on investing in the next 12-18 months.

“More than ever, corporate legal departments realize that they need to increase their efficiency while delivering measurable business value to their organizations,” said Afshin Behnia, Mitratech CEO. “This survey shows that continued investment in technology, even in this economic environment, is seen as a key to performing more efficiently and effectively. But at the same time, the survey also reveals that legal departments are still mostly focused on more traditional areas such as e-billing and matter management, with newer areas including GRC integration, e-discovery and cloud computing still remaining areas for future, not immediate, consideration.”

When asked about departmental spending in the next 12-18 months, 82% of the respondents said they expect spending to increase or remain the same, with 72% focusing their technology spending on matter management solutions. “Over the years, we have had to streamline our legal operations to run more efficiently and part of that has been investing in new technologies,” said Danette Gallatin, Legal & Regulatory Affairs Business Manager, The Williams Companies, Inc. “In 2011, we decided to upgrade our matter management system because our prior system lacked the ability to quickly search for, compile and review matter information. It also made our timekeeping a time-consuming process.”
 
Another key finding of the Mitratech’s Legal IT Spending Survey was that 49% of respondents said their companies keep their governance, risk and compliance (GRC) and legal activities completely separate, with only 21% responding that they are fully integrated and operate collaboratively. “Companies that keep their GRC and legal activities separate are missing a great opportunity to manage risks and legal exposure more effectively,” said Behnia. “Corporations are under a great deal of scrutiny from investors and government agencies so they need to find ways to manage their compliance efforts that satisfy that intense scrutiny. By unifying their collaborative compliance efforts into a single location, corporations gain a complete view of liability across the enterprise ensuring investor confidence and satisfying government regulations.”

Return on Investment (ROI) was another topic addressed in the survey. When asked which technology has given them the most ROI, 40% of the respondents said matter management followed by e-billing with 30% and contract management with 24%. eDiscovery was far behind with 18%.

Despite the growing popularity of cloud technology in the enterprise, Mitratech's survey found that legal departments are still hesitant to adopt cloud technology for legal operations. Only 29% of companies polled currently employ cloud or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology in their legal departments and another 29% said they have no plans to adopt the technology.
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