In today’s dynamic and evolving markets, corporate legal and risk services departments are trying to innovate their operations and produce more cost-efficient outcomes. The decision to take on an e-billing or legal spend management solution can be challenging, and often the decision is made based on misconceptions about what such a solution might offer.
There are four very common myths:
Ultimately, the success of a company’s legal department depends on how much it values analytics, and the value of a legal spend management solution is in actionable data. This data can provide insight into how much companies are spending and what they are spending on. Companies can use this information to standardize billing procedures for outside counsel, evaluate the effectiveness of firms, and implement best practice strategies for case management. If a legal department is reactionary and simply focused on assigning counsel to cases as they pop up, then it will eventually become bloated and costly. Lean legal departments rely on insights into their legal spend and make data-driven decisions that lower costs and raise the bottom line.
Most medium-sized companies, and even many small companies, can benefit from a bill review or legal spend management solution. With the right technology and properly trained staff, bill review can be done at a fraction of the cost of an in-house group. The added benefit of data provided by third-party review enables General Counsel to more accurately assess the health of legal operations in their company.
There are many considerations to make before hiring an e-billing firm, and implementation can’t happen overnight. But with a dedicated implementation team coupled with internal buy-in, a new solution can be rolled out in 60 days. In order for the solution to be effective it is necessary to set clear and achievable goals, generate internal buy-in and cooperation, and properly train outside counsel.
Law firms already deal with myriad e-billing services, and most are already working under billing guidelines. Bill review is an opportunity to help them learn to adhere to those guidelines. A good implementation plan will aim to nurture relationships with outside counsel by providing trainings, offering support, and giving law firms the opportunity to acclimate to a new system. The implementation needs to be engaging. Timekeepers and billing personnel should be able to participate in trainings with presentation materials and ask pertinent questions to an implementation team. As they familiarize themselves with billing procedures, they should have access to a support team via email and telephone that can assist in transitioning them into the new system. And as firms acclimate to billing guidelines and other instructions for counsel, they should be able to do so in a testing period to learn how to bill correctly. With a well-strategized implementation process in place, outside counsel can learn and adapt to the evolving needs of the clients they serve. The reward for their cooperation is a strengthened relationship with their client, and participation in a more organized billing system that will lead to them getting paid faster for their services.
Successful organizations need to be leaner and have greater visibility into their day-to-day operations and partner relations. E-billing or legal spend management solutions can help organizations achieve that level of efficiency. But to get there, General Counsel need to look past myths and misconceptions and start the conversation about how to implement lasting change in their organization.