Peer to Peer: ILTA's Quarterly Magazine

Issue link: http://epubs.iltanet.org/i/1415201

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Page 12 of 64

13 I L T A N E T . O R G become the centerpiece objective in an engagement. In these endeavors for insights, legal teams also need to know about historical and future trends. The technology-enabled ALSP is fit-for-purpose to identify insights the legal team would not have otherwise, sometimes on a predictive level. This helps the legal team to anticipate business issues that the businesspeople themselves may not see. The right technology and partnerships also allow GCs to tell the story of the value that the legal team is providing. Value can be communicated directly and demonstrated through metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) and further capturing data that can be used to describe past, current, and future trends and opportunities. Creative Approaches to Modernize Practices Law firms also face challenges of perception and stereotypes. While they also worry about being seen as poor business partners like their in-house counsel colleagues, law firm partners may be more likely to be perceived as averse to change and technology, wedded to old ways and not aware of the challenges faced by their clients. And there is often enough truth in these concerns, as many law firms have viewed ALSPs and new technology as a threat to their business models, profitability, and the ways they practice their profession. But nothing could be further from the truth. The real threat to law firms today is focused on value and commercial pressure from both clients and competitors. To be a winner and thrive in the future, law firms must modernize their practices. This means technology needs to deliver results at scale, and it means that law firms need to focus on their highest and best use. Some firms address this by establishing significant resource pools focused on innovation, project management and practice technology. While this is part of the story, an overlooked resource is a set of power users, situated within an environment focused on technology, process efficiency and scale—the ALSP. With these tools and partnerships, law firms can improve costs, add flexible capability, and set their firm apart from the competition. Embracing increased capabilities and greater client value offers a win-win-win for law firms, their legal department clients, and the organizations they work for. Firms realize increased market share of clients' existing legal spend, higher profits, and leveraged insights of their partners and associates. End clients see higher margins on deals and open themselves up to new market opportunities. By working with trusted ALSPs on some types of matters and areas, including transactional and contract work, law firms can focus on providing the best advisory services possible at much more competitive costs. They are not forced to choose between expertise or efficiency. By allowing ALSPs to focus on certain aspects of the work, partners can better utilize their knowledge, creativity, and insights on behalf of their clients, while associates can spend more time gaining that knowledge and background, which helps to lay the foundation for the future success of the firm. Adding Value that is Informative and Evaluative Of course, not every new provider brings the same value. Some ALSPs have developed relationships with technology providers that offer rich, sophisticated tools and allow legal teams to find value that is both informative and evaluative. However, legal departments and law firms can face significant challenges in searching out partners that can provide these types of insights. Legal teams may not know what data and information they want and need, particularly at the outset of a matter or project. All too often, the legal team reaches the conclusion of a matter, only to belatedly identify the data they should have been capturing all along that would help them to define and demonstrate success. That is why a key part of any kickoff meeting or initial conversation should be identifying what represents a win. Once legal teams understand that question, it becomes easier to know what data needs to be collected and how they can work with technology providers to identify and track that information from the very beginning. Defining ROI is also important. Money spent and saved is one way to measure ROI and needs to be considered holistically around the total business value at stake. Efficiency is another area, focusing on effort and bandwidth. When a new process, technology, or relationship frees attorneys to do more complex or diverse work, that is a win. Another type of ROI involves any insights that a new provider can produce to help with a future technology. One example would be matter management and bill payment, where information around trends and monitoring will allow for insights into future trends. Whatever the definition, ROI needs to be mathematically computable according to a realistic model.

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