Back to Blog
Legal Operations

A Strategic Take on Legal Billing Guideline Management

Creating billing guidelines is often one of the first steps a legal department takes when trying to get a hold of out-of-control legal spend. But how can a legal department ensure that their guidelines and law firms are set up for success afterwards?

In our latest webinar, Daniel Michalek, Head of Legal Operations at Veritas, and Jamie Ingles, Senior Legal Operations Manager at Snowflake, shared their insights and experiences on how to strategically manage and enforce legal billing guidelines.

A Strategic Approach

Department Onboarding

Getting your department on board is critical to a successful implementation of your billing guidelines. To do this, both speakers recommend the following:

Law Firm Onboarding

Not only does your internal team need to be on board with your billing guidelines, your law firms need to be as well. Overcommunication is key here and you can use the following insights from Daniel and Jamie to ensure law firm adoption:

Three Key Takeaways

While the webinar was jam-packed with valuable insights, here are the key takeaways that stuck with me:

  1. Keep your guidelines simple and easy to understand! The more complex your guidelines are, the longer it will take to enforce them. In order to do this, find team members in and outside the legal department to review specific components of your guidelines to ensure they are clear and make sense.
  2. Prioritize setting your law firms up for success. Your law firms are an extension of your internal team, so their success needs to be a key focus for you. A part of this includes making sure your guidelines expand beyond what law firms can and can’t bill for. You’ll want to add timing parameters for billing, how things should be billed, what the process is, and where to go for help. Also, be explicit about what happens if guidelines aren’t met. The goal here is to make it as easy as possible for them to follow your guidelines and succeed.
  3. There are two common things that are often left out of billing guidelines that should be included. The first is a Favored Nations Clause, which says if your law firm gives another client a better rate, they have to give that same rate to you. This helps to ensure that you’re getting the best rates that your law firm can afford. Second, be sure to include your expectations for accruals. You’ll need to work with your finance team to understand their requirements, but including this will help to ensure that legal’s relationship with finance stays a happy one.

Conclusion

These are but a handful of the insights Daniel and Jamie touched upon during the webinar. They also delved into billing guidelines best practices as well as common issues they’ve experienced and how they solved for them. I highly recommend checking out the webinar!