Information technology can create in-house legal jobs and should not be perceived as a threat, the group general counsel of a FTSE 100 company said last week.
Bill Mordan (pictured), senior vice-president and general counsel at RB (formerly Reckitt Benckiser), said the firm’s ‘i-Legal’ system, which automated transactional aspects of the company’s legal work, enabled its 70 lawyers to demonstrate their value more effectively.
He said: ‘As the lawyers have been able to move away from transactional events and transactional contracts, they have more face time with their clients… they get to spend more time on the high-end legal issues. And headcount has increased.
‘The more a GM, SVP, EVP or CEO sees [their] lawyer, the more likely they are going to want more lawyers like them because they recognise the value.’
Mordan, previously with Procter & Gamble, was speaking to GCs and chief operating and information officers at the Yerra Solutions 2014 annual conference in London.
On other IT developments, he predicted that electronic signatures will be used exclusively for agreements and that ‘within a year or two you will have a major transaction “e-signed” exclusively, and that will be the benchmark’.
He added: ‘If we can get banks to accept [electronic signatures] for some of the cheque-signing documents, I would be extraordinarily happy. As the company secretary, I get a hand cramp every time the bank sends me something to sign because they really want it on paper.’