The benefits of eBilling for corporate legal departments are well documented. With digitally created billing files and automated processing and checking of invoices, eBilling saves a huge amount of administrative resource and tracks external legal spend in almost real time, ensuring adherence to guidelines and budgets. Less talked about is how the legal procurement function […]
We created BusyLamp to remedy the challenges of working with outside counsel. In-house counsel has historically had difficulties with the rising costs of legal services, matter management, and communications with outside counsel when it comes to legal billing. By eliminating these obstacles and helping reduce the costs of legal services, as well as the friction between in-house counsel and outside counsel, we hope to fulfill a pressing need.
Even many otherwise highly sophisticated CFOs and financial departments have a hard time estimating expenses and doing the fundamental accounting and bookkeeping they need to control costs and keep outside counsel appropriately reined in.
Hiring outside counsel to handle urgent, time-sensitive work (or even ongoing, non-sensitive projects) can be heartburn inducing, particularly if you’re tasked with keeping your team’s financials in line and reducing costs. Here are five battle-tested tips for making sure that the money that you do spend on outside counsel is spent wisely and that you get an appropriate return on any investment.
Outside Counsel Management 101: How Often Should You Review the Performance of Your Outside Counsel?
Whether you task outside counsel with predictable ongoing requirements, or you and your team send work out on an ad hoc basis, you need metrics to track performance as well as processes to keep your budget in line and deliverables appropriate.
The process of formal performance reviews isn’t always the most eagerly anticipated part of the work year for most managers and employees. So why should it be looked upon more positively by outside counsel and, say, corporate general counsel or other managers within an in-house legal department?
As much as they may not want to admit it, some general counsel find themselves in a position at times where monitoring and controlling outside counsel activity begins to resemble the proverbial difficult task of herding cats.
Cutting costs is a never-ending quest and topic of discussion for legal departments. Like accounting, HR, or marketing, it’s looked upon as a cost center and often at the head of line when cutbacks are targeted.
With an eye toward budget predictability and managing risk, more and more legal departments are looking for opportunities to implement alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) with outside counsel as an element of legal spend management.
Ask any general counsel what keeps them up at night regarding outside counsel management, what gets them frustrated, or what even makes them want to fire a firm, you’re likely to get some variation on this: unmet expectations.
Law firms and legal departments may not typically have a reputation for being early adopters of technological advances. But to play in the game in 2017, it’s important by now to be taking advantage of the time-saving, performance-enhancing software that’s readily available.
“Surprise!” is not something you usually want to hear from someone who is reporting to you on outside counsel billing or the entire spend of your legal department.
In today’s legal world, there are so many compelling reasons for incorporating e-billing technology that it’s not so much a question anymore of whether a company should implement it but rather, simply, when — or why it hasn’t already been done.
The most effective working arrangement between inside counsel and outside counsel reflects the best elements of a successful business relationship and a true long term association. Specifically, it brings together two parties with needs and capabilities aligned; operates collaboratively, in an environment of mutual respect; and benefits from a foundation of trust and partnership.
It’s a new world out there, and if you’re a General Counsel, you’d better be brave.
More and more, the GC is becoming a key, proactive player not just in legal matters – ensuring that the company operates legally and dealing out legal advice (personally or through staff and outside counsel) – but also in strategic business decisions and issues involving risk management, finance, marketing, human resources, production, sales, and more.
On the surface, it’s often easy to look at billing as the conclusion of a phase or engagement. But the fact is that it can also be a source of valuable information to set the foundation for planning and strategizing for the future.
In today’s business world, where analytics plays such a key role in performance management and the strategic distribution of resources, it’s not a matter of “if” key performance indicators (KPIs) should be instituted, but “when,” “what,” “how,” and “why.”
Communication is a two-way street – and transparency is what drives communication to be the pathway to a successful relationship.
Certainly that’s the case when it comes to the relationship between outside counsel and inside counsel. Too often (in the corporate world) this can be a strained or even adversarial working arrangement, with suspicion, misconceptions, or unwanted surprises taking their toll. With transparency and clear communication, however, both parties can work toward the desired outcome – quality legal services performed efficiently for agreed-upon compensation – while avoiding potholes and pitfalls.