LegalDecember 08, 2022

Highlights from three of the best legal spend management programs

During our 2022 ELM Amplify user conference in October, our session “Reaching the summit on successful legal spend programs: A tale of three clients” featured three varied stories of how clients in different industries are managing spend effectively. Below, we feature highlights from each of our panelists’ experience that may help you hone in on ways to optimize your own spend management program.

John Crawshaw, Analytics and Technology Manager, PNC

By evaluating the legal department’s invoice review results, John and his team found that only eight or nine out of one hundred attorneys made regular adjustments to their invoices. The vast majority of them made no substantial adjustments to invoices at all over the course of a year. This was a red flag indicating that most were not conducting detailed invoice reviews and that PNC likely had an opportunity to find additional savings on their legal spend.

The legal operations team initially considered implementing attorney scorecards and sharing the results publicly to encourage attorneys to begin reviewing invoices more closely. However, there was concern that this approach would be seen as “shaming” these busy professionals, and the team decided not to pursue it.

Instead, the legal department implemented LegalVIEW BillAnalyzer®. This choice has taken the responsibility for detailed, line-by-line invoice review off of attorneys and added the support of a powerful AI-powered review engine and expert external reviewers. John noted that BillAnalyzer has made it easy to quantify the savings being generated. In addition, by ensuring that invoices are scrutinized, BillAnalyzer has helped to improve the quality of the legal spend data the company collects.

Glenn Vile, Senior Manager Legal and Compliance Operations, Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.

Glenn echoed John’s experience with many in-house lawyers who do not conduct detailed bill review and instead just approve invoices without scrutiny. Glenn heard two concerns from these attorneys: a lack of time to devote to careful bill review and a reluctance to create law firm relationship problems by pushing back on invoices. The implementation of BillAnalyzer at Marsh & McLennan has allowed the legal ops team to address these concerns because there is now a dedicated team of external bill reviewers who take on those challenges.

In-house attorneys who have the most familiarity with the matters still have final approval of invoices, but they now receive bills that have already been scrutinized. As a result, Marsh & McLennan can now realize their QuickPay savings without asking busy in-house attorneys to take time away from higher-value work or have uncomfortable conversations with outside counsel.

Kristine Iida, Senior Director and Managing Counsel, Corporate Law and Legal Operations, Walgreens

Kristine emphasized the importance of making sure that both the internal legal department team and outside counsel firms are comfortable with new technology and new processes. When Walgreens began using BillAnalyzer, they communicated the upcoming change to firms early enough that there was time for them to address any questions or concerns the firms had. They provided training for both in-house and law firm team members so that everyone knew what to expect and shared a common understanding of the new process.

Once the system was implemented, Kristine and her team were able to analyze the results to identify areas where law firms were repeatedly out of compliance with billing guidelines. They could also identify those timekeepers who continued to submit noncompliant invoices and have informed conversations with each firm about the best way to deal with those issues.

Walgreens has focused on maintaining its law firm relationships at every step of the process. They have kept firms informed about their performance and worked together on improvements. Importantly, they also ensure that in-house attorneys, who serve as the main points of contact for outside counsel, understand and are comfortable with the approach.

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