As CLOC Institute London is upon us, it’s a perfect moment to share insights from someone who’s spent the last several years gaining firsthand experience of U.K. and European legal tech needs: Mitratech’s Josh Becker.
As a Senior Business Analyst, Josh’s job is to prove to clients that they’ve made the right decision by partnering with Mitratech. How? By leading a successful implementation. That relies on learning what problems the client is attempting to solve, and designing a solution optimized to meet their goals.
One of the ways our staffers accomplish that? By becoming embedded assets for the client, working side-by-side with client users, developers, and others to ensure a successful implementation. In Josh’s case, that turned into a multiyear stint in London, where he led the implementation of TeamConnect for a global financial services client.
First off, what can you tell us about yourself and your background?
I’ve been working for Mitratech for about 6 ½ years. I started as a Regional Solutions Consultant, then became a RSC/Client Trainer and then moved on to a Business Analyst role in 2014, then to Senior BA in 2015.
How did you come to work for Mitratech?
I was working as a clerk at a law firm, thinking I wanted to become an attorney. After being told by literally every attorney I met during my two years there not to do that (this included an opposing counsel, in court, when I was there for only 5 minutes dropping something off to one of our attorneys), I started to think about what else I might want to do. I had a friend already working at Mitratech who recommended I apply for the new RSC role, since I could use my law clerk background to relate to our clients.
Tell us about the client categories you’ve worked on here…
While I was an RSC, we had the entire client base divided up amongst three of us, so I was responsible for the central region. So I worked with a lot of different clients, like a few of our big insurance clients, and I had a lot of energy clients since Houston fell in my region, too. We’d meet each client once a week to talk about support issues, new features, training questions, and so on. As a Business Analyst, I handled implementation for a major entertainment client as my first project, and this client in London was my second, which would take up the next four years of my career.
Are there differences between the legal technology market in the UK or Europe and the United States?
What comes to mind first is international e-billing. The stricter regulations around international e-billing lead to much more complex requirements in general; lots more validations are required, and multi-currency handling becomes a much larger concern for clients.
While in the U.K., Josh competed in the London Marathon.
Tell us about the TeamConnect implementation you did for your Financial Services client.
Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but I think the implementation I led was the most complex implementation of TeamConnect we have ever done. We built out a ton of custom functionality for them, and there were only a few times we couldn’t meet a requirement.
With TeamConnect, we helped them develop have a robust mechanism for gathering and selecting bids from their vendors, then triggering anywhere between 1 to 8 approvals based on who was selected to make sure that there’s proper oversight of their outside counsel engagement process. Also, they can leverage country-by-country e-billing profiles to manage all of the validations and tax code management needs that vary from one country to the next, so that as they roll out e-billing to new countries they only have to create a new profile rather than do any additional coding. A custom rate card feature allows vendors to submit rates in multiple currencies, including rack rates and their own special negotiated rates. When I finally moved off the project, we were completing custom development that would automatically calculate the accruals for all of their vendors, so that they could just go through and approve the calculated amounts.
Were they using other software products before TeamConnect?
I think they had five separate applications they had been using previously – one for tendering, one for billing, and three for matter management – that they were able to sunset by moving to TeamConnect.
Since implementation, were particular additions or upgrades that benefitted the client?
Since went live with the first phase of our project in 2016, there have been the regular updates, and we’ve added specific items like additional countries for e-billing, tendering functionality to engage outside firms, and added a more robust matter management set of functionalities that they’d actually developed internally.
What do you think set Mitratech apart, in their mind, from other providers?
I have to think we impressed them because of all that TeamConnect was able to deliver. I would be honestly shocked if any other tool on the market was able to do everything that we asked TeamConnect to do.
What was the experience like of being embedded with the client?
After all that time, I actually started to feel more like a client-side employee than a Mitratech employee. I went to their offices three days a week and spoke to other folks there more often than I did with the people at my own company. It really helped me in doing my job because of how well I came to understand their business processes.
Usually, with a project that large, you have client-side Business Analysts who work with the actual users to understand their requirements and then communicate those back to the Mitratech BAs, who then design solutions to those requirements. But I don’t think anybody at my client, outside of the folks in Legal Ops who were actually doing the day-to-day work, had a better understanding of their needs than I did. I saw client BAs come and go over the course of that project, and it got to the point that I was basically training them on Legal’s business processes.
Finally…what really stands out to you about the relationship between your client and Mitratech?
When I first joined, it was rocky, because we were facing some real challenges with the implementation. But by the end, they came to see me as a trusted advisor who only had their best interests at heart. I’ll steal a line from the response I got to my goodbye email from the main project sponsor over there: “It has been an absolute pleasure working with you. You are, to my way of thinking, the very best thing about Mitratech.”