Why Enterprise Legal Management Matters to You
Our clients are usually excited about the fundamental benefits of an end-to-end Enterprise Legal Matter Management solution even before they decide to implement one of our solutions. As with many software applications, the goal is usually to reduce spend and improve productivity across the department. This is definitely what an ELM platform will provide, but I want to share a few concrete ways that a Chief Legal Officer can interact with an ELM solution – TeamConnect in particular – to support these goals.
As the head of the legal function in a world class organization, you’re responsible for the most strategic pieces of the legal puzzle: bet-the-farm decisions, board-level visibility, staffing plans, making legal a business partner, and overall accountability. Even though your primary workspace won’t be the matter management solution, it needs to be an application you can use to support these functions as you are increasingly expected to be at the table with all the information at your fingertips. So here are four things that TeamConnect helps the top legal officer of any organization do better.
Spot Trends & Take (Pro)Action
You’re tasked with setting the tone of the department and ensuring controls are in place to prevent disasters. Wouldn’t it be helpful if you could see where you’ve been to forecast where you might be going?
With TeamConnect, a dashboard of graphical reports specifically chosen by you greets you upon login, to surface the metrics you care about most without making you poke around to try to find data. You’re interested in bringing more work in house? Let’s set you up with a report that compares hours billed by Outside Counsel with the hours logged in completed tasks by your team over the last year. Perhaps you want to identify the type of cases that happen with the greatest frequency so you can create a strategy to reduce incidents. Your dashboard also contains a report which shows there were 2 times as many Slip & Fall complaints created in the last 6 months than any other type of General Liability complaints. Drilling down into that report also tells you that most of those Slip & Fall complaints happened at one specific facility. Now you can set an investigator on the case to determine the cause and recommend a solution.
You say you are also working on an initiative to make smarter decisions on whether to settle or litigate? Great goal! With a few minutes, your IT Admin has set up an Early Case Assessment section in lawsuit matters where attorneys use their expertise to record anticipated exposure levels, along with their belief for likelihood of success. In a scheduled report that shows up in your inbox on a monthly basis, you can review these statistics with matter details in a snapshot and advise on which matters are most worth the time and effort. You also take this same report to the Board Meeting to provide strategic updates to stakeholders that show you understand which matters are important to the business as a whole.
Respond in Real Time
It might not even be a board meeting. Perhaps it’s a 15 minute update between you, the CEO and the CFO on your latest M&A transaction. Before utilizing a singular source of truth for all matter information, you might have needed to take down your CEO’s questions or call in the Professional In Charge to respond with specifics. Today, you have a real time discussion with your CEO, using a Google-like search to enter a few keywords and instantaneously find the transaction. A streamlined view of the matter optimized for the types of things the top legal officer is interested in allows you to nimbly pick up just the info you need, such as the financials, last status update, and expected close date without having to sift through erroneous information (tasks, appointments, etc.). When the CEO says: “Ms. CLO, tell me where we are at with negotiating that major M&A we talked about. What are the next steps, and when are we expecting it to close? Mr. CFO wants to ensure that is accounted for in this quarter, per our annual plan.” You deftly respond with your team’s latest update: “Sarah had a negotiation meeting with their managing attorney last week, and the consultant indicated the business was in a hurry to wrap this up as well. We expect one more round of redlines before close early next month, 3 weeks before end of quarter.”
Break Down Logjams
Sometimes it’s also the simplest things. You’re busy and you have an integral arm of the business to run; most approval tasks are delegated, by necessity. For those items that can’t be, which require your actual blessing with a time stamp, TeamConnect facilitates faster processing by giving you infinitely flexible options for review and action. Your solution applies the business logic according to your needs to determine if you need a peripheral view or in depth analysis.
A large outside counsel invoice has been through several reviews before it gets to your desk, and you’re already aware of the highly visible litigation’s progress, so you really don’t need to take time out to do a review of the invoice line items, you only need to lend your spending authority to get it paid. TeamConnect lets you do this by clicking one button in an email. In other cases, such as that big M&A transaction, you might get an approval request to send the final contract for execution. This is one of those times when you want to do a once-over of the document, and your email notification is going to give you a link directly to it. You can do your review and approve the request from within the transaction record.
In an environment of increasing regulation, regardless of industry, one wrong step can seriously handicap a business for years to come. Right now, the top things on many General Counsels’ minds are how to provide a repeatable, defensible process for legal operations and respond to obligations in new privacy laws which are ever-emerging worldwide. These are not small demands and the implications for failing are huge.
This last one does not actually require your interaction with the application at all. Rather, TeamConnect simplifies the landscape of possible failure points for you by integrating the strategy you set forth into standard processes in a world class solution that automates many of them repeatedly, audits everything necessary, and provides opportunities to bolster the defenses – like a singular access point for matter data and documents for both internal and external attorneys, extremely granular security for all roles in the application, and data encryption.
In the end, I know that you, Ms. CLO and Mr. GC, are not going to be spending your every waking moment using this application, and that’s okay. By enlisting your team to keep their work product within an intuitive, end-to-end enterprise legal management platform such as TeamConnect, when you do need to dip your toe in, everything you need is going to be right there at your fingertips: organized, quickly and easily accessible, and secure. So what’s in it for you? I’d say an equal seat at the boardroom table, concrete proof of meeting your business objectives, and perhaps a little more sleep at night.