Corporate legal departments are continually being asked to do more with less. Although corporate legal spend continues to rise year-over-year, the explosive increase in matter volumes outpaces these increases. This has resulted in legal departments evaluating outside legal counsel spend and reallocating work based on results. In order to provide services as outside legal counsel to these departments, attorneys must be able to prove their value.
In an era of data-driven decision-making, it is no longer enough to just claim value. You need to be able to provide quantifiable data points that support it. Legal discovery platforms such as Casepoint can help you quantify the value you offer by measuring KPIs to determine ROI. Legal departments need an easy way to compare potential outcomes offered by outside counsel. Demonstrating your value in quantifiable terms helps departments immediately understand the value you offer.
Leveraging eDiscovery Technology to Capture Metrics
eDiscovery can be a wildcard when predicting legal spend, and wildcards make legal departments nervous. Although eDiscovery offers tremendous time savings over traditional discovery methods, the process is still extensive, with a lot of moving parts. If one of those parts is not working correctly, it can grind the entire process to a halt.
However, a solid eDiscovery system allows metrics to be collected at every step of the process. This helps to determine what is working and what is not, and offers the opportunity to course-correct quickly to bring things back on track.
Much of the time spent on discovery is spent evaluating what information is valuable and needs further attention, and what is extraneous. Unfortunately, this evaluation requires an attorney to spend hours separating what is useful from what is not. The biggest cost in eDiscovery is attorney hours, optimizing those hours are not only important to the end client, but to the profit and loss of the firm itself. Having the ability to track and quantify how resources are allocated and used during the eDiscovery process is an invaluable data set for forecasting. With the right software these metrics can be tracked at a granular level while work is being done.
The metrics collected along the way can help law firms better estimate the cost of the discovery process. They also allow the firm to demonstrate the cost savings of a more efficient system and to use past data to estimate future costs. Finally, being aware of the metrics can help you build review models and allow law firms to price alternatively for their eDiscovery services. This is a critical part of demonstrating outside counsel value.
Adopting and Implementing AI Effectively
AI is a valuable tool in optimizing the eDiscovery process. It can be extremely efficient at completing time-intensive, repetitive tasks, particularly those that do not require nuanced judgment or interpretation. The greatest benefit to any AI solution is the ability to increase productivity and lower resource costs. There are many KPIs you can capture with the right tool and partner to show return on investment.
In document review, a key metric is cost of review per responsive document. Using AI effectively can help drive down the cost of review, which is an invaluable metric for corporate counsel. Combined with a fixed cost approach law firms can increase their profit margin per engagement and pass savings on to their clients.
In addition, using AI for analysis, validation and accuracy can help decrease the time to matter resolution. Utilizing AI and being able to quickly and accurately understand how data supports an action is of utmost importance. Legal work requires precision, and using AI programs to verify accuracy to demonstrate precision is key to client satisfaction and the perceived value of the legal work being done.
Accurately Predicting Hours
Although AFAs are becoming increasingly common, many legal departments continue to use hourly billing. This can lead to uncertainty for everyone involved — legal departments can be blindsided with accumulated costs, and outside counsel suffers if they lose contracts for this reason.
An accurate estimate of hours can salvage this relationship. Legal departments have a ballpark figure from the outset, which allows them to better budget for costs. It also allows attorneys acting as outside counsel to have a sense of both the time commitment and the revenue they’ll receive, helping them to determine how much work they can comfortably take on — which in turn can lead to better analysis for alternative or predictable pricing.
Providing Demonstrable Value
These improvements in productivity and forecasting allow firms to offer more precise and valuable estimates of not just the cost of working together, but the value imparted. This allows both the legal department and the outside counsel to have a better sense of what it would look like to work together.
It also measures valuable data that can be provided to decision makers within the legal department and the company at large. During a time when legal spend is being increasingly scrutinized, being able to quickly provide KPIs can mean the difference between a department maintaining funding and losing it.
Legal departments have multiple goals, some of which are at odds with each other. They are expected to keep up to date with compliance issues, address the company’s legal needs, and cut costs at the same time. These goals will always be a balancing act, but the more outside counsel can help, the more likely they are to establish and continue relationships with legal departments.
Improved efficiency does not happen by chance, though. The proper tools are required to make it happen. For law firms, legal discovery platforms can provide that tool in an effective and cost-efficient way.
Download our whitepaper to learn how law firms like yours can leverage disruptive technology as a strategic advantage and deliver even more value to your clients.