Implementing a Legal Spend Management Solution, Part Three: Metrics and Reporting

So, you successfully implemented your legal spend management solution and are starting to see a reduction in your legal expenses that results from participation in a bill review program. Great…now what? Although many that employ a legal spend management program do so for the instant hard dollar savings, the true benefit of a legal spend management solution is the actionable insight that comes from increased visibility into your data. Let’s explore a few ways you can begin taking advantage of the business intelligence reporting even without a trend-worthy amount of data.

Operational Reports

The first operational report you will receive is an invoice compliance report. These are issued for each invoice submitted by your outside counsel and detail the information captured from the individual invoice, including: law firm details, amounts billed, time keeper summary, internal reference numbers, and payment information. They also reflect whether the law firm invoiced in compliance with your billing guidelines, and often are your first layer of insight on how compliant your law firms are when billing you.

Another report that is immediately available is an invoice status report. If you find yourself wondering whether an invoice you’ve been expecting from a firm has completed the review process or are trying to anticipate how much will be accrued in the next week or so, this report will be your new best friend for these answers and much more.

Once any amount of data has come in, you can begin receiving outcome and performance reports that detail how your spend is distributed; whether you’re interested in seeing this by law firm, case, jurisdiction, case type, or any other data point these reports will become the foundation for your future trend analysis. A good legal spend management solution will also provide you with categorization reports to break down what activities and expense your attorney’s are invoicing your company for.

Analytical & Benchmarking Reports

Another way your spend management solution can help improve your legal operations department is through analytical and benchmarking reports. The usefulness of these reports can vary depending on what issues are important to you and your organization and they may chance over time. Nevertheless, one thing is common among them: they can be customized to provide you with meaningful data that you can use to transform your legal spend.

One example of a common benchmarking report is the comparative rate analysis. If you didn’t take advantage of this report during your implementation, ask for one now. This jurisdiction-specific report will compare billing rates for your line of work to help you decide if your outside counsel rates are where they should be. You can also utilize budget reporting to ensure your firms are staying within your agreed upon legal budget for an individual matter. Really, your options are endless.

Those that take advantage of a legal spend management solution generally have their own desired outcomes for the program, but almost all find themselves relying on the metrics and reporting that are produced to drive action. A metric that may be important to one organization can be less meaningful to another, which is why I encourage you to work with your solution provider to ensure you are receiving reporting tailored to your issues. Whether you are focused on time keeper analysis, case staffing, annual comparisons, law firm performance scorecards or another metric, start the conversation with your account manager to determine how you can maximize your reporting options and begin making informed decisions about your legal operations.

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