In working with our client base, one aspect that I find most interesting is the complexity and variety of challenges they face as they manage legal costs. It should come as no surprise that these successful companies would have sophisticated solutions in this area, but it is always a learning experience to explore the kinds of issues they are able to deal with and the resulting processes they have developed.
While there are some common needs among the various clients, there are often striking differences in the challenges they face. The sheer volume of external spend processed by some of the larger legal departments demands streamlined efficiency for high-traffic tasks. Any high-dollar approvals require an appropriately high level of sign-off, and the time and attention of executives and attorneys is valuable. This can drive the tools to bring improved user interfaces and mobile technologies into play.
“While the goals of controlling and minimizing legal spend without adversely affecting results are universal, individual situations are diverse.”
Some clients are putting a keen focus on legal spend analysis, and they are often looking for additional data. Much is being written about the Era of Big Data and the impact it can have on legal spend management (for example, the latest in the “Moneyball for Law Departments” series from RFx Legal). Clients are seeing the value of including additional information in the system, such as timekeeper experience levels and areas of expertise. Another area with increased innovation is budget predictability and alignment with top priorities. To this end, there is huge variation in the arrangements negotiated with outside counsel, as well as methods for communicating and enforcing these arrangements. While the goals of controlling and minimizing legal spend without adversely affecting results are universal, individual situations are diverse.
The creativity I have seen in the system designs is inspiring. Just as artists can produce the best results when they are not limited by shortcomings in their materials, these legal professionals can best take their ideas into practice with a system that doesn’t limit them. If I ever need some additional motivation, I think of the amazing teams that rely on the technology tools we produce to conquer all the different challenges they face.