containment of various legal costs through collaboration, first by
working with outside counsel to carefully plan the stages of each
assignment, and then by managing the process through comparison of
actual results to the current plan. Only the thoughtful application of
technology can extend the consistent application of this process to
large numbers of legal matters with tens or even hundreds of law firms.
A Two-Way Street
Successful collaboration demands the willingness of the participating
parties to align their interests. The criteria used to select outside
counsel should include their understanding that communication and a
commitment to collaboration will be at the core of the relationship.
Regardless of technologies and process changes implemented, costs
will not be positively affected without this commitment.
Collaboration in the context of managing legal spend begins by
analyzing the details of the legal assignment and developing a strategy
with the law firm. Increasingly, this strategy is codified in the form of a
matter-based budget that is agreed to by both client and outside
counsel. Through an open, upfront dialogue, the client and firm
develop a working budget based upon the mutual determination of the
cost/benefit of each task, thus ensuring the efficient application of
legal effort towards an optimal result. In this scenario of collaborative
planning and accountability, each party is responsible for ongoing
oversight of the process, to confirm that all is on track and to be aware
of new factors that could necessitate a change in strategy or
anticipated costs. Without constant monitoring, the results may differ
greatly from expectations.
Working collaboratively to manage matters can have a positive impact
for both law departments and law firms in the following ways:
by Tom Gaillard of Bottomline Technologies
The Changing Role of the CIO :: 15
Corporate legal departments are all too familiar with the cumbersome
nature of manually processing paper invoices received from outside
counsel. The s