As businesses deal with more complexity brought on by a legislative and regulatory change in increasingly multi-jurisdictional operations, legal departments must be ready on their side to deal with a rise in claims and litigation. In fact, according to the 2018 Litigation Trends Annual Survey from Norton Rose, more than 25% of businesses surveyed anticipated the volume of disputes will increase over the next year.
Efficient management of your claim and litigation workload is critical for delivering expected results and reducing exposure to risk, but also for reducing/controlling outside legal costs– a key challenge for in-house lawyers according to 2019 Future Ready Lawyer Survey from Wolters Kluwer.
Collaboration with internal departments and outside counsel can help you manage a growing workload, control legal costs, and protect your firm from litigation risks. Here are 5 ways you can facilitate collaboration with your key stakeholders to improve claims and litigation management.
1. Adopt a central repository
By storing documents and information related to claims and litigation in one secure place, you eliminate the risk of manual errors or misplaced documents. When cases are organised, you and your colleagues have a better overview of current and past claims/ litigation information and you can sort them across parameters; entity, counterparty, law firm or the amount- making it easier to report and audit.
By centralising documents and information, you can import and recall critical information (reducing the administrative burden!) and export and email documents among internal/ external parties. You and your colleagues can easily access and retrieve information- minimising the gaps in communication; making sure requests from the business are attended to quickly and accurately.
2. Implement a secure portal for colleagues
Sharing documents via email is time-consuming as you and your colleagues will exchange multiple emails back and forth with a number of revisions- making it difficult for you to track their status or check who is responsible for what. What’s more, sharing documents which contain sensitive information via email is risky.
By having a cloud-based portal, you and your colleagues will be able to share documents and information in a secure environment and access them from anywhere, anytime. You can set access rights to make sure confidential information does not go to the hands of unauthorised people.
On the portal, you can build an action plan for each claim/ litigation with tasks defined and assigned to responsible colleagues. This way, everyone has a clear idea of their role and their responsibilities. As the portal is updated in real-time it will be easier to monitor the claim/ litigation status- see who is responsible for tasks and the next steps. This way, not only do you gain the latest insights into outstanding claims/litigation but you also ensure all tasks are carried out in due time.
3. Grant access to outside counsel
By creating an account for outside counsel, you can correspond with them in a secure environment. Having a clearly defined process to communicate with outside counsel will help you have a detailed overview of their activities and costs.
4. Improve performance with smart tools
Once tasks are assigned, it is upon Legal to make sure they are carried without delays. By having tools to set alerts, you and your colleagues will not miss a critical deadline such as a court/ claim obligation date.
By implementing a reporting tool you can track performance and calculate your risks. When identifying and assessing risks becomes easier, this helps you mitigate them proactively and make accurate forecasts for future claims and litigation.
5. Tracking financials
Once the case is over you will have all the information needed to make a final assessment in one place, allowing you to compare the fees paid to your external counsel (coming from their invoices) to the claim amounts, provisions, and other relevant financials for your cases. This will help you justify the budget, and prove value created by you and your legal team.
Streamlining processes to collaborate with internal departments and outside counsel leads to higher efficiency and productivity levels that will eventually result in better outcomes. Through collaboration, you can improve claim and litigation management, and mitigate risks to protect your business against financial and reputational losses.