An assessment of your organization's historical usage of Outside Counsel is a valuable process to better understand the amount of work you allocate to certain firms, what matter types are business critical, and the average hourly billing rates for the lawyers, among others. This exercise allows visibility to spend patterns and where certain opportunities such as benchmarking hourly rates, implementing Alternative Fee Arrangements (e.g., fixed matter prices, blended rates), leveraging alternative legal service providers for less complex work, and consolidating the number of firms used.
2. Implement a Preferred Panel Program
Best-in-class legal operations will include a list of their go-to preferred firms utilized for specific areas of work. Depending on the size of the legal function, it can be a concise list of firms that you will have agreements in place with and to be used frequently. This can be a robust process conducted with an extensive RF(x) where firms will put their best foot forward in terms of competitive pricing, offerings such as annual rebate programs, established Relationship Partners, and Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs). 3. Adopt Legal Technologies
Installing legal technologies in your organization can improve the efficiency and productivity of your operations. The marketplace for these tools is growing rapidly as businesses realize the opportunity to automate routine tasks such as document management, e-discovery needs, and contract analysis, while also being affordable to implement and maintain. Primary tools like a matter management system provide the tracking of matters and their results. These tools provide access to data analytics that assist in decision-making efforts and visibility into matter details. The relative nature of legal can be highly confidential as well and technology improves the necessary security for sensitive information.
4. Employ a Matter Bidding Program
A matter bidding program will ensure the most competitive pricing available for when matters arise and help with control costs as matters run much longer than expected and can be key to get in front of from the onset. A key benefit of this program is the establishment of all agreed upon terms such as rate cards and caps on the overall cost of a matter or specific lawyer that works at a higher hourly rate than others.
5. Run an Internal Workload Survey
It can be a healthy exercise to gather feedback from your internal lawyers on what types of activities they do on a weekly basis and other general thoughts that they may have to improve the department. Based on the results from the survey, leadership can take a more guided approach to how work is internally allocated and where innovations may be applicable.
By Zach Corning
Zach Corning is a Senior Consultant at Treya Partners. Zach has over 8 years of management consulting and operational business analytics experience, with a focus on procurement and strategic sourcing. He uses a methodical approach to create cost reductions and operational improvement. He has a breadth of experience across many industries and spend categories and is focused on driving solutions and client outcomes that achieve measurable results.