One of the most valuable aspects of the annual ELM Amplify User Conference is the opportunity for attendees to meet and hear from their counterparts at other companies who have had success in addressing the challenges they share. At this year’s conference, we designed the session Unleashing the Power of AI in Bill Review for a New Era of Legal Cost Management to do just that. To talk about their experience using AI and managed service invoice review for improved legal cost management, we were joined by Glenn Vile, Senior Manager - Legal & Compliance Operations at Marsh & McLennan, and Mike Stein, Director – Legal and Compliance Operations at QVC. They were joined by our Vice President & Segment Leader for LegalVIEW® BillAnalyzer, Jeffrey Solomon.
Both guest speakers have been through the process of choosing, implementing, and operationalizing LegalVIEW BillAnalyzer and had a great deal of helpful insight to share. Here are a few of the key takeaways from the conversation.
An experienced technology partner is critical for success
Any significant change in legal ops practices requires effective change management to be successful. For the best results, work with an experienced team that has an extensive history of effective implementations across many customers. Glenn was impressed by the team that implemented LegalVIEW BillAnalyzer for Marsh & McLennan. They took a methodical approach, patiently going line-by-line through the billing guidelines to understand the company’s goals with each one. This became the basis for coding the guidelines in a way that the AI could understand and execute on.
Initially, Glenn experienced some skepticism, both internally and from Marsh & McLennan’s outside counsel. They addressed the concerns of the in-house lawyers by being transparent and ensuring them that the legal ops team would handle conversations with outside counsel – the attorneys’ relationships with their partner firms would not be negatively impacted.
In addition, Glenn shared with his internal team the background of the ELM Solutions experts who were assigned to their implementation. When Marsh & McLennan’s in-house staff learned that the BillAnalyzer team included several key members who were lawyers themselves, many of the more skeptical team members felt reassured.
Invest extra time immediately after implementation
At QVC, Mike and his team met daily during the BillAnalyzer implementation process to scrutinize every invoice and make sure the adjustments taken reflected QVC’s goals. This had multiple benefits. First, it was a way of addressing skepticism and increasing certainty that the AI tool was operating as expected. In addition, that attention to detail also made Mike and the staff even more familiar with the guidelines, as well as the work and invoicing practices of their firms.
That initial period of increased scrutiny was fruitful, but temporary. The team still meets to make sure that the BillAnalyzer results remain in alignment with the company’s objectives, but they no longer discuss every adjustment and only meet every couple of weeks.
AI-driven bill review yields short-term results and long-term benefits
When companies begin using an AI-powered invoice review solution, there is a virtually immediate uptick in cost control as the AI begins scrutinizing every invoice and ensuring that all adjustments are taken. After introducing BillAnalyzer, most legal departments see an average savings of up to 10%. This is impressive, but the longer-term benefits are even more striking. For example, the average increase in billing guideline compliance for BillAnalyzer clients is up to 20%.
The presenters in the session shared that they emphasize these lasting advantages when discussing the move to AI-driven bill review with outside counsel. They want to be sure that firms know they are not interested in “nickel and diming” them to save money but are focused on adherence to billing guidelines. Better compliance leads to increases in budget predictability and efficiency for in-house attorneys. By spending less time reviewing invoices and discussing common billing issues, attorneys can devote more time to the highly skilled legal work that delivers more value to the company.
Over time, both presenters have seen compliance improve while conversations with firms about violations are more fact-driven and based on the actual text of a particular entry. As their understanding of the requirements has improved, outside counsel have also stopped asking for the number of exceptions they used to. As stated, “While the conversations are still the same, they’ve gotten a lot easier.”