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3 Outcomes of Improving Legal Department Operations

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Technology, analytics and process are the three drivers of corporate legal operational maturity. All three are necessary – and must work in harmony to advance the maturity of legal department operations – and the benefits can be significant.

According to Justin Silverman, who leads product management for the LexisNexis CounselLink product, annual savings customers report can come in at ballpark average of 7-10%.  However, savings are not the only possible outcomes.

Here are three additional examples:

1. Improved corporate legal budget predictability

With some 500 high cost litigation matters for the year – accounting for hundreds of millions in legal spend – a large financial institution wanted to drive better predictability of their corporate legal budget. Each year, the legal department asks law firms for detailed budgets on matters for the year that are submitted through an enterprise legal management system. These budgets included numbers, but also commentary that denotes the underlying assumptions used to arrive at the projected figures.  Next, the legal department and law firms embark on a series of discussions and lock in on a set of fixed fees which has enabled the law department to forecast their budget within 1%.

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 2. Tighter relationships with fewer providers

A consumer packaged goods company had more than 100 law firms in a panel to managed work ranging from product reliability to trademark protection. Managing a 100 law firms proved to be overwhelming and the legal department lost track of which firms they worked with, what type of work they sent to those firms and how much they were spending. Through a combination of technology, analytics and process, the company developed an RFP process that reduced the number of outside service providers from 100 to less than 20.  The process strengthened relationships with a more manageable smaller set of firms which in turned provided better rates in light of the increased volume of work.

3 Outcomes of Improving Legal Department Operations

3.  Creating a law firm scorecard

Capturing metrics like bill rates are common but one large insurance provider also wanted to understand more subjective measures. For example, they wanted to understand how satisfied corporate counsel was with the outcomes being delivered by law firms.  They designed the criteria they wish to measure and boiled it down to three key questions that inside counsel was required to answer every time the close a matter in the matter management system:

  • How satisfied are you with the outcome?
  • How well did the law firm communicate?
  • Would you want to work with that law firm again?

Over time, the answers to these questions put structure around subjective data on a matter-by-matter level.  Often the insurance company would share such results with law firms to identify areas of improvement while also allowing the company to more objectively select law firms.

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Is there another outcome as a result of improving legal department operational maturity that you’ve observed?  Please feel free to share in the comments.

Please join us for a complimentary webinar today at 1 p.m. on improving legal department maturity: http://bit.ly/legal-outcomes

Photo credit:  Flickr, Rob Harris (CC BY 2.0)

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About Frank Strong

Frank Strong
Frank Strong is the communications director for the LexisNexis software division located on NC State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh. In this capacity, he leads communications efforts in support of software products for law practice and law department management and also litigation tools – across large law, small law and corporate counsel segments. With more than 15 years of experience in the high-tech sector, Strong previously served as director of public relations for Vocus, which developed marketing, PR and media monitoring software. He has held multiple roles both in-house with corporations, ranging from startups to global organizations, and has also endured the rigors of billable hours, having completed gigs at PR firms including the top 10 global firm Hill & Knowlton. A veteran of two year-long deployments, Strong has concurrently served in uniform in reserve components of the military for more than 20 years, initially as an enlisted Marine and later as an infantry officer in the Army National Guard. Strong holds a BA in Film and TV production from Worcester State University, an M.A. in Public Communication from American University, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University. He is a PADI-certified Master Scuba Diver and holds a USPA "B" skydiving license.

Yes it is true that improving legal outcomes is important from every perspective. Since it also further encourage attorneys to give their best, where quick & better decisions are made.