January 2020 | Iain MacDonald, Independent Legal Operations Consultant, Currently working with BusyLamp
The Vital Role Of Reporting For Legal OperationsEasy to use, clear and comprehensive reporting functionality has evolved from an added bonus to a must-have requirement for corporate legal teams when evaluating legal technology. The pressure on legal operations to demonstrate improvements and return has led to reporting features being almost as important as the fundamental benefits of the software tool in use. Where legal operations is missing a trick is when data analysis from a particular tool is used in isolation. To use legal spend management software as an example, out-of-the-box spend reports and user-friendly analytics wizards allow legal departments to monitor work in progress, measure actual spend, and forecast budgets accurately. That’s not to say legal spend data isn’t useful on its own. On the contrary, legal operations teams use spend data to make better matter resourcing decisions, negotiate discounts, get more value from firms, and hire more internal staff.
Combining Legal Data To Better Manage RiskWhere the in-house legal function is working closely and in partnership with the business units across the company, the range of information and data it holds will often put it in a unique position within the organisation. This data not only supports an awareness of what the business is doing but also forms part of the historic corporate knowledge that is built up over the years; such as previous contracts, decisions and outcomes. Historically, this information was not held in a structured electronic format, which meant any form of data and trend analysis, as well as knowledge management, was extremely manual and time consuming. With the increase in legal matter management and legal spend management solutions as well as better document search and retrieval there is a growing need and clamour for data processing, data analysis and knowledge management. Capturing basic contract terms and/or details of legal opinions in a matter management system provides a very simple knowledge management tool and a rich source of data. Other tools that will help provide data are any solutions used to create standard contracts, access to benchmark reports, as well as internal resources (finance reports etc.). Those legal operations teams that are seeing the most value are those that combine data from various technology tools to take their strategic input to the next level. One such area is management and mitigation of risk. A legal operations team that is carrying out data analysis on all the data at its disposal will be in a position to identify trends that will lead to a range of questions that should spark further debate, such as;
- How much work is done “in-house” versus being sent externally?
- Are the correct processes being followed?
- Are we getting the right level of technical support for the type of transaction?
- Is there a growth in the types of transactions either at a business unit or country level?
- Is one firm being used more than others for similar types of transaction from a particular part of the business / legal team?
- How does the firm perform against others for similar types of transaction both on price and performance?
- How does the business differ to market peers?
- What is required to manage a specific regulatory change?
- Is the in-house legal function and its staff compliant with the relevant regulatory authority guidelines, such as the Solicitor Regulation Authority (SRA) etc.?
- Delivers better training and communication to the business and legal function
- Carries out regular reviews of standard documentation,
- Supports reviews of policies, practices and procedures, and
- Develops a better understanding of the market.
Founded by a team of lawyers and powered by frustrated users of endless spreadsheets and clunky legacy legal tech systems, BusyLamp is the leading SaaS alternative for efficient legal operations. We help legal departments save time, significantly reduce costs, and collaborate more effectively with in-house and outside counsel by simplifying and improving their legal processes. Legal departments leverage our end-to-end solution to improve visibility and efficiency from pitch to completion. Become a member of the BusyLamp user family and take advantage of our sophisticated sourcing, fee tracking, e-billing, matter management and vendor management features, all with powerful reporting and analytics.