Today’s in-house counsel is empowered to become part of the organization’s solution and step away from playing the role of the bad cop
Matt Nelson, InsideCounsel
More and more organizations around the globe permit employees to bring their own mobile devices to work so they can access company data from any location, at any time with any device. The bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon started gaining traction around 2007 when executives and board members brought the first personal smart phones and tablets into the corporate workspace. Since then, the BYOD trend has skyrocketed as employees began to expect the same kind of flexibility, and employers saw increased productivity by allowing employees to use mobile devices both at work and home.
Employee and employer attitudes
Cisco recently revealed that 95 percent of IT and business leaders surveyed in the United States say their organizations permit employee-owned devices in some way, shape or form. The survey goes on to cite employees’ desire to use their favorite device anywhere, and the ability to conduct personal and work activities any time as the top reasons driving employee BYOD enthusiasm. This enthusiasm might be better characterized as a perceived right to use mobile devices in the workplace, considering more than 33 percent of employees between ages 20 and 29 said that they would break any anti-BYOD rules to use their personal devices. (read the article)
The adage of “garbage in garbage out” certainly applies to the effective use of law department data
Scott Springer, InsideCounsel
The general counsel assumes many roles: overseers of corporate governance and compliance, outside counsel supervision and tactical and managerial oversight of their own law department functions. Faced with continued pressure to increase efficiencies and cost reductions while delivering more value, general counsel need to champion the benefits of enhanced data analytics to ensure their law departments meet internal customer needs. Increasingly, they are turning to new methods of research and reporting when looking at outside counsel costs.
Fortunately — and perhaps somewhat daunting — for law departments, there are abundant opportunities to utilize data analytics to assist with cost containment opportunities. According to HBR Consulting’s 2013 Law Department Survey, data-driven analysis is used for:
Alternative fee arrangements (82%)
Internal guidelines for outside spending (73%)
Matter planning and budgeting (62%)
Use of analytics to improve negotiations (43%)
Outside counsel billing guidelines (37%) (read the article)
Gartner Ratchets Up Legal IT Research
The research and advisory company plans to release a number of reports on legal technology later this year.
Mark Gerlach, Law Technology News
Research and advisory company Gartner Inc. is making a push to escalate its coverage of the legal space in the coming months with the release of a handful of reports on predictive coding technology, e-discovery and legal management.
The news comes on the heels of a report that the company put out in late February entitled IT Planning Guidance for Legal Professionals: The Gartner Legal IT 2020 Scenario. The forward-looking study analyzes four potential futuristic outcomes of how technology will impact the legal landscape within the next half-dozen years.
“We are improving our coverage of the space because we see legal IT as one of the next big marketplaces that, to date, has been underserved by the IT industry,” said French Caldwell, vice president at Gartner and lead author of the report, in an interview with Law Technology News. Caldwell heads up risk, compliance and governance research at Gartner. (read the article)
There are many areas of running a legal department that typically fall within the scope of responsibilities of the head of legal department operations, but none impact the legal department’s finances as profoundly as outside counsel and legal vendor management efforts. Initiatives and programs under this umbrella include:
- convergence of firms and vendors (or other preferred counsel or vendor programs),
- development and maintenance of outside counsel and legal vendor guidelines,
- administration of standardized rate request processes, the development and management of matter budgets and other aspects of spend management (including spend data analytics initiatives), resource allocation planning and management,
- development and management of alternative fee arrangements, the development and administration of counsel and vendor performance scorecards, RFP/RFI program management,
- development and management of e-auction processes and similar innovative programs, and other initiatives.
Leading legal departments, often working with corporate finance and procurement, are now focusing on building centralized, comprehensive world-class programs to effectively manage these activities and achieve certain overall goals, such as cost reduction, improved relationships with outside counsel and vendors, increased service quality, and departmental efficiency.
Join Jeff Paquin, President, Institute for Law Department Excellence as he interviews his guests, David Cambria, Director of Global Operations-Law, Compliance and Government Affairs, with Archer Daniels Midland and Aaron Van Nice, Director Legal Operations, with Baxter Healthcare Corporatetion, as they share their decades of experience in building and managing these programs.
April 17, 12:00 pm Central
REGISTER HERE TODAY!
The best data analytics can lead to the same organizational culture.
Marlisse Silver Sweeney, Law Technology News
Are the big bucks being shelled out on big data not having the big impact anticipated? Michael Schrage wrote in the Harvard Business Review that the best data analytics lead to the same organizational culture.
Schrage’s research suggests it’s how the companies use their analytics that really matters. The ones that have moderate outcomes are employing big data for decision support, he said, whereas the most successful return on analytics is when “firms use them to effect and support behavior change.” It seems analytics are the most effective when “they’re used to invent and encourage different kinds of conversations and interactions,” he said.
However, this isn’t as easy as it may seem. “People may need to share and collaborate more; functions may need to set up different or complementary business processes; managers and executives may need to make sure existing incentives don’t undermine analytic-enabled opportunities for growth and efficiencies,” suggested Schrage. (read the article)
Ari Kaplan, Reinventing Professional Services
During a recent trip to Seattle, I spoke with Dan Kalish, a partner with HKM Employment Attorneys, which has just launched One Hour Employment Lawyer, a new service that allows prospective clients to book live consultations focused on employment matters for a $299 flat fee.
Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal
Alternative legal fees are often discussed, but less often embraced, especially in litigation matters.
The Washington Post spoke with two lawyers who are putting their beliefs into action.
One is Crowell & Moring partner Kathy Kirmayer, a litigator who charges alternative fees for most of her work. Often Kirmayer will charge a flat fee with a success fee for positive outcomes such as early dismissal of a case.
“What I’m looking to do is provide the lowest cost to the client as possible—asking how few people can do this task?” she told the Washington Post. “How quickly can we get this task done? What’s the lowest cost to the law firm, and what’s a reasonable return on that investment? It’s cost-up pricing rather than basing off an hourly rate.”
Another believer in alternative fees is Steven Greenspan, head of litigation at the legal department of technology and aerospace company United Technologies. About 70 percent of the company’s legal fees, including its litigation fees, are based on alternative billing. For litigation matters, the company’s outside law firms charge for different phases of a case, such as investigation, discovery, trial preparation, trial and appeal.
“We believe the hourly rate is dead, and we shouldn’t engage outside counsel on an hourly rate basis,” Greenspan told the Washington Post. “I almost never get pushback [from law firms] today. Two or three years ago, I got pushback all the time.” (read the post)