Stay current on changes and developments in corporate law with a wide variety of resources and tools.
By Susan Bokermann
Dec. 8 — There’s not a particular silver bullet that results in law departments’ efficiency, according to Bret Baccus, senior director for Huron Legal.
Baccus was commenting on one of the key findings of Huron Consulting Group’s Fifth Annual IMPACT Benchmarking Survey released Dec. 3.
The 2014 IMPACT survey, which was conducted in partnership with The General Counsel Forum, aims to assist general counsel in breaking down and understanding the effectiveness of their operating processes.
The survey included data from 75 companies with revenues from under $2 billion to more than $10 billion and across various industries. The survey results indicated a broad trend in more effective cost management programs, including more detailed use of information, big-data analytics and a focus on law department management technology.
The survey results reflect “an increased usage of a more detailed understanding of where the legal department costs are going on matters,” Baccus told Bloomberg BNA Dec. 8. This is “an evolution within law departments” to provide increased value to the department and business clients.
Although the majority of law departments use fee- and expense-level budgets, the percentage of departments using phase, task and timekeeper budgets has increased from 5 percent to 20 percent since 2011. These kind of detailed budgets provide law departments with greater insight into spending and increase outside counsel accountability, according to the survey.
Baccus also pointed to the increased use of alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) as another example of law departments using more-detailed information to make cost-controlling changes. Eighty-three percent of law departments reported using AFAs in 2014.
“There’s been a buzz in the industry around the use of big data,” said Baccus. Thus, this year’s survey for the first time asked about the use of “big data” and analytics in making decisions. Fifty-seven percent of law departments reported using “big data” and analytics to help drive decisionmaking in some capacity.
Baccus explained that “[l]aw departments now have enough historical information with their matter management and e-billing systems to really make informed decisions.” He said that external data, such as the survey, help to make those decisions.
The survey found that big data was mostly used in making decisions regarding outside counsel fee arrangements and rate negotiations.
The use of more detailed information and data analytics is tied to law department management technology, according to Baccus. Seventy percent of respondents with more than $10 billion in revenue reported having law departments with long-term strategic technology and process development plans.
Eighty-five percent of companies with more than $10 billion in revenue reported using matter management systems, e-billing and contract management systems.
Those companies not using these systems expressed interest in being better positioned to implement them, according to the survey.
Baccus said that the trend in more efficient cost management programs for law departments began in 2008, when they were forced to focus on cost management and cost predictability. He said that as law departments came under more scrutiny, they began implementing programs that allowed more control over cost and spending.
He said law departments' transparency and disclosure to the board and the chief executive officer has continued to increase and contributed to this trend as well.
To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Bokermann in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan Tuck at email@example.com
More information on the 2014 IMPACT Benchmarking Report is available at http://www.huronconsultinggroup.com/Insights/Resource/Legal/2014-IMPACT-Benchmarking-Report- Highlights.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)