Image of the tip of the iceberg depicting the real problems behind legal spend challenges

Tackle Legal Spend as Your Next Priority

Published on : 12/05/2021 12 May May 05 2021

Have you ever noticed that focusing on a single operational issue may uncover the deeper reasons for what is really going on in your legal organization?  It’s like the tip of an iceberg; you only see the top issue initially. But underneath is where the source of the problem lives. For instance, when you look at controlling legal spend, you may first evaluate Outside Counsel Billings to look for over-billings and unnecessary expenses. 


Go Beyond the Tip of the Iceberg


Your first observation is that the billings from outside counsel are complex. 

Your lack of technology forces you to manually look at every line to validate and ensure all billings are reviewed, allocated, and disputed when needed. This forces you or your team to invest a significant amount of time in this administrative activity causing productivity and morale to suffer. 

Your organization may have resource constraints that make it difficult to consistently review outside counsels’ bills because it is such a tedious process, and mistakes are easy to make when you are relying on manual oversight. 

Is the problem the complex invoice, or could it be your approach to resolving overbillings? 

So, you look a little deeper. You diligently prepare Outside Counsel Guidelines, which include penalties to help set performance expectations. However, are you enforcing those guidelines with outside counsel, or are you letting them slip by without oversight?  Do the day-to-day demands of your work distract you from this time-consuming task? 

You’ll find that controlling legal spend takes more than manual oversight to identify and remedy the cascading issues that spring from an inefficient process. 

There are three things you can do right away to solve this problem:

1. Automate 
2. Automate 
3. Automate

Boring, repetitive work drains your employees and often results in human errors. An automated spend management solution unburdens your employees to create higher value from their activities and a more significant ROI (Return on Investment) for your operations.

The key is not eliminating legal spend, but rather controlling it.  

With a modern legal spend solution, you can streamline your processes to quickly identify the added costs that come from missed billings, complex invoices, or management provided by an overworked in-house counsel limited by outdated technology. 

Your staff can benefit from an automated legal solution in several ways:
  • Reduce wasted time 
  • Become more efficient 
  • Reduce/Eliminate human error 
  • Do more interesting work
  • Recover lost hours 

Centralizing information through automation improves everything

Gain visibility into what you are spending. The more legal matters and invoicing you manage, the harder it is to get your arms around the details. When every team member has visibility into one source of information, there are fewer errors, and they can make informed decisions that benefit the organization.  

Your staff can retire their individual spreadsheets of information that they painstakingly maintain because they can rely on the consolidated information that comes from a technology-based approach.  

With a digital spend management system that includes easy ways to flag items and communicate with your vendors, you eliminate the waste and get more done. 

The goal is not just to increase revenue and decrease expenses but rather to spend wisely. 

Without data to back up your decisions, it is harder to identify trends and validate your determinations to your outside counsel. 

In addition, justifying legal spend to your internal team is much easier when you have the right data to generate financial reports as proof. Legal spend analytics have come a long way with current technology so that you can make your budget allocations case based on facts.   

Look for Legal Spend solutions that offer your team a way to:

  • Control and manage your external spend with a protected space to negotiate fee agreements and contract terms from your external advisors. You can exchange information in real-time with a private and interactive workspace to conduct business securely.
  • Detect billing errors with an accurate analysis of invoices that reveal any non-compliance with automated rules to address hourly rate overruns, estimated budget, and other oversight items. 
  • Streamline invoice approvals by creating predefined rules that automatically validate and transmit invoices for payments. 
  • Always know your numbers by comparing actual vs. budget numbers for costs and fees per case. 
  • Monitor external spend between service providers, allowing for competitive rates and negotiations to reduce expenses.

In summary, automation is the answer for companies to become innovative and efficient. 

Don’t miss significant opportunities to thrive by failing to adopt the available and necessary technology to boost efficiency, innovation, and employee satisfaction. Make legal spend automated software a priority to solve all of the above and more to take your legal organization to the next level of efficiency 

About the author:
Legal Suite is the worldwide leader in digital transformation for lawyers. We have delivered our state-of-the-art software for lawyers, law firms, and in-house general counsel to 65,000 users for over two decades.


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