Key insights general counsel & legal operations have with SimpleLegal

Laura Guenther | January 10, 2019 | Articles

Data is only as good as the insights you get out of it. Thanks to the widespread availability of software, extracting value from the massive amounts of data received by the legal department (specifically from law firm invoices) is easier than ever. But, as many Chief Legal Officers (CLOs), General Counsel (GCs), and Legal Operations teams are realizing, the data is scattered throughout systems, is not real-time, and reports often need to be pulled manually by their team.

Insights and key decisions are made based on gut-feeling instead of being driven by data.

GCs and CLOs need more than another tool to just streamline invoice review. They need real insights that drive better business outcomes.

With a modern and comprehensive legal operations management platform (like SimpleLegal), these real-time, actionable insights are now at the fingertips of those that need them.

1. They Know Where They Are Against Budget… Before It’s Too Late to Pivot.

Legal teams that use the SimpleLegal legal operations platform know, in real-time, how much money they’ve spent against their predetermined budgets – overall department, by matter, by vendor, or by any other attribute. Other legal teams may be manually pulling this from excel spreadsheets that track invoices coming in or are only considering the invoices that have already been paid. SimpleLegal users get the full picture — tracking and analyzing invoices that have been paid, invoices pending approval or payment, and unbilled activity.

Armed with this insight, legal operations and GCs can drill into the root cause (like an unforeseen litigation matter), have a conversation with a vendor, or discuss internally to develop a plan moving forward. Showing the C-Suite they are operating within their means as a fiscally responsible business unit is one of the best ways to “get a seat at the executive table” and be seen as a strategic business partner.

2. They Know Which Outside Counsel or Law Firm Might Make More Sense to Partner with for a Particular Project for Increased Productivity

It’s important that in-house legal teams are productive, especially in the “do more with less” era that many departments find themselves in. How do you ensure knowledge is shared to save time and boost productivity? Let’s say there is a trademark matter that an IP attorney is working on – it would be useful to have visibility into any peers that have worked on a similar matter (to have a conversation with them around the outcome and any insights they may have), as well as the law firms involved (if they are already familiar with the company and IP portfolio they might save time on getting up to speed).

Of course, legal operations management platforms that incorporate e-Billing and spend management provide valuable insight into the spend by law firm (and even breaks it down by timekeeper, matter, and more). But, just because a firm has been used before, doesn’t mean they are the best for the project at hand. What about which law firms support alternative and fixed fee arrangements?

The growth of legal technology, especially when data collection lands in a single system of record, makes these actionable insights and opportunities for knowledge share possible.

3. They Can Easily Identify Areas for Cost Savings with Alternative or Flat Fee Arrangements.

Alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) are becoming more and more popular as an incentive-based solution that is beneficial to both your legal department and law firm. But, if the reports you use aren’t structured in a way that makes analysis as easy and straightforward as possible, you could be missing out on some serious cost savings.

Within SimpleLegal, reports are set up with the flexibility to group, subtotal, and filter by all the relevant categories (vendor, practice area, matter, etc.).

4. They Have Clear Visibility into Department Efficiency and Staff Productivity.

How can a GC have a true understanding of their department performance productivity without leveraging data? Having quick and meaningful visibility into overall caseload, average monthly matter KPIs (e.g. # matters opened/closed), and spend to budget by attorney makes identifying any outliers easy, and helps you pick up on trends before something becomes a problem.

Armed with this kind of data from SimpleLegal, GCs now have the ammunition needed to get the resources required to manage the legal affairs of the entire company successfully.


5. They Can Measure their Impact and Demonstrate their Delivered Value.

Today, GCs are expected to run their department more like other corporate departments driven by process and, using data to accelerate better decisions and outcomes. But, how can a GC do more with less…and actually prove it? How can GCs show their value and mitigate the all too common perception of being a cost center?

Since SimpleLegal stores all legal spend, matter, and vendor data (plus all the data in between) in one central place, GCs have the ability to easily report on nearly every aspect of their department to the C-suite and board. With ample data readily available, this helps and identify trends over time while. This helps informing crucial decisions they need to make that directly affect the performance of their department, and the impact to the organization – like staffing, sourcing and spend.


9 Reports to Get Started

To help you get started, we’ve compiled the top 9 reports every GC needs in our informative white paper. Download your copy today and start on the path towards a more efficient, productive, and data-driven department.

Reports for GCs