Mitratech recently surveyed legal departments across the market (including clients and non-clients), ranging in size from under 3 to over 250 attorneys. Fifty-seven percent of the responses came from non-Mitratech clients and 43% came from Mitratech clients. Within the survey, we asked law departments to rate challenges related to managing their legal department operations.
Overall, the top three challenges identified were 1) managing and sharing the legal department’s information and knowledge, 2) optimizing the use of alternative fee arrangements (AFAs), and 3) having the right tools and processes for managing legal holds.
While legal departments continue to focus on lowering overall legal spend, it was interesting that, other than optimizing AFAs, no other challenges directly related to driving down legal spend rose into the top 10.
What could that indicate? Most e-Billing tools on the market offer the basic needs required by legal departments to manage their financial relationships with outside law firms. However, many of those same tools don’t have the same level of robust knowledge, matter, or legal hold management. Not only that, but lowering outside legal spend is only a challenge for departments with large amounts of outside legal spend. The majority of law departments have fewer than 20 attorneys and don’t have excessive legal spend to manage. For those departments, concern with not having the tools necessary to manage e-billing came in at 27th out of 36. However, these legal departments do have rising challenges related to managing information, knowledge, and legal matters.
The relative importance given to management of information over e-Billing, indicates that what is top of mind these days in legal departments is not controlling law firm fees but how to best access and share knowledge needed to ensure that legal departments are providing the most value possible. This change in focus makes sense given the rising prominence of corporate legal departments vis-à-vis law firms. As law departments bring more work in-house, unbundle legal project work to multiple legal service providers, and become more strategic partners with their business associates, the need for access to shared information and knowledge becomes increasingly critical.
Additionally, as legal departments are asked to act as traditional business units and report on results and metrics, reporting and analytics have become increasingly important. Reporting challenges were ranked the 7th biggest challenge for non-Mitratech clients, and yet reporting was not identified as a top 10 challenge for either TeamConnect or Lawtrac clients.
What does this mean for your legal department? It means you should evaluate the tools you have in place. While simple e-Billing tools are important, what’s more important is to have a simple, but powerful, system that can manage not only your e-Billing, but also legal knowledge sharing, reporting, contracts tracking, and rising compliance matters. Both TeamConnect (for large legal departments) and Lawtrac (for small and mid-sized legal departments) offer solutions to address all of these challenges – solutions that are both simple and efficient, while offering unmatched power and functionality. Contact us today if you are interested in learning more about how Mitratech can help you solve your legal department’s challenges.