1 December 2011 Findings from the 4 th Annual Law Department Operations Survey PRODUCED BY InsideCounsel and Blickstein Group, in cooperation with Huron Legal
2 ENHANCING ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS AND REDUCING LEGAL SPEND Huron Legal provides advisory and business services to assist law departments and law firms to enhance organizational effectiveness and reduce legal spend. Huron Legal advises on and implements strategy, organizational design and development, outside counsel management, operational efficiency, and discovery solutions, and provides services relating to the management of matters, contracts, documents, records, digital evidence and e-discovery. DELIVERING VALUE DRIVING RESULTS huronconsultinggroup.com 2011 Huron Consulting Group Inc. All Rights Reserved. Huron is a management consulting firm and not a CPA firm, and does not provide attest services, audits, or other engagements in accordance with the AICPA s Statements on Auditing Standards. Huron is not a law firm; it does not offer, and is not authorized to provide, legal advice or counseling in any jurisdiction.
3 Business Pressures Put the Onus on Operations Playing the Hand They re Dealt By David Cambria, Senior Director, Enterprise Information Management, CDW Chair, Law Department Operations Advisory Board Respondents to this year s survey, our fourth, identify opportunities for business improvement and cost savings as one of their greatest challenges. When we launched the Law Department Operations Survey in 2008, indications were that law department operations managers were reaching beyond their own departments to take on new roles in other facets of the business. With budgets remaining ght and the overall business environment becoming ever more complicated since then, we ve seen that trend grow more pronounced in subsequent surveys. Law department opera ons managers have become increasingly integral strategic players within their organiza ons. And apparently they understand that they must use their unique skill sets in new ways to tackle their addi onal responsibili es. Case in point: Respondents to this year s survey, our fourth, say iden fying opportuni es for business improvement and cost savings is one of their greatest challenges. Recently, several law department opera ons managers came together in Chicago to discuss results of the Fourth Annual Law Department Opera ons Survey and how they are iden fying and implemen ng new opportuni es. One way to do that is by pushing more commodi zed work out to the businesses, so in-house counsel can focus on more strategic legal ma ers. But law department opera ons managers aren t just haphazardly throwing the work to businesspeople and expec ng them to figure it out. They are playing an invaluable role by providing training, insight and structure to the management of these tasks, while serving as a bridge between legal and business. They bring the exper se and experience to systema ze processes that are repeatable, defensible and auditable. The survey has been developed once again by InsideCounsel and Blickstein Group, in consulta on with an eight-member advisory board represen ng a range of Fortune 500 companies. This unique survey focuses solely on the opera ons func on and seeks to provide benchmarks that are useful to the largest law departments. As always, we rely on the survey findings to gauge the impact, trends and priori es of 21 st century law department opera ons. Read on for a revealing and incisive look not only at where law department opera ons stand today, but where they re heading in the years ahead. BACK ROW L. TO R. : Terri Martorana, Abbo Laboratories Bobby Jahanbani, Mitratech David Dresden, McDonald s Corp. David Cambria, CDW Elizabeth Jaworski, Motorola Mobility Brad Blickstein, Blickstein Group FRONT ROW L. TO R. : Blane Erwin, Bridgeway Aaron Van Nice, Baxter Interna onal Rich Seleznov, Huron Legal Lean Times are Testing Law Department Operations Managers, Forcing Them Into Tough Trade-Offs and Out-of-the-Box Strategies, Latest Survey Findings Show For years, the mantra among legal departments has been, Do more with less. Faced with a ba ered economy and pressure from the C-suite, law department opera ons managers and their teams have been leaving open posi ons unfilled, limi ng travel and pushing law firms to reduce rates, all in the name of crea ng efficiencies and cu ng costs. Now, however, it appears many legal departments are finally reaching their limits. Instead of doing more with less, they are now realizing they have to do less with less, according to respondents to the Fourth Annual Law Department Opera ons Survey. We are leaving the era of efficiency and entering the era of priori za on, says Brad Blickstein, principal at the Blickstein Group, a co-publisher of the survey. That sen ment was echoed by several law department opera ons managers and consultants, who recently gathered in Chicago for a roundtable to discuss the survey results, the challenges their own departments are facing and the best prac ces they have ins tuted to address them. While they are s ll con nuously striving to improve their own processes, today s law department opera ons managers are also working to priori ze what in-house counsel can and should do. In many cases, that means pushing more work out to the business units. In other situa ons, that means re-evalua ng basic li ga on strategies and whether legal should even be involved in some ma ers. When you freeze headcount, the work doesn t go away, points out David Cambria, previously director of opera ons in the law department at Aon Corp. and now senior director enterprise informa on management at CDW. In the legal department, we don t look for work. It finds us, based on what the business is doing. Managing Resources Since their workload isn t ge ng any lighter, some legal departments are rethinking how they approach that work. We ve been trying to become more efficient, more effec ve and do some things differently, says David Dresden, senior director, legal administrator with McDonald s Corp. However, we ve finally go en to the point where this is more difficult to do, so you have to look at priori zing the work. Along with making a business case to add more legal staff, McDonald s is also becoming more strategic about cases. When We are leaving the era of efficiency and entering the era of prioritization. Brad Blickstein, Blickstein Group it comes to outside counsel spend, li ga on is the bulk of our expenses, says Dresden. We re trying to be more strategic, par cularly with the larger cases. We are taking a look at whether we should fight cases over a period of years or if it makes more sense to se le and realize an overall net savings. Deciding whether to fight or se le lawsuits o en entails making highly complicated, emo onal decisions within companies, roundtable par cipants agreed. How a case is priori zed strategically o en hinges on publicity issues, the amount of money involved, the number of claims, corporate strategy and other factors, according to Aaron Van Nice, director of legal opera ons in the law department at Baxter Interna onal. According to Van Nice, Baxter has also looked at other ways to priori ze and spend money intelligently. One way is by carefully considering whether a orneys need to be involved in every legalrelated task. We ve worked to iden fy the right resources and look at processes to determine whether other resources can do a par cular assignment. These are resources that are less expensive than a orneys, he says. The appropriate person for a task may not even be in the legal department. Several par cipants report that their companies are direc ng more work to other departments, such as purchasing, or directly to the businesspeople. This can be par cularly effec ve with contracts. Abbo business managers work on lower-risk contracts with Global Purchasing, says Terri Martorana, senior manager, legal division, at Abbo Laboratories. In order to make that process more effec ve and minimize poten al risks, Abbo legal has ins tuted training for the businesses and provided contract templates on the company s internal SharePoint site. With proper prepara on, more contracts can be handled at the business level. Their advising a orney doesn t need to be involved in every contract, she says. The business managers are given prepared materials and templates, legal guidelines and the ability to execute terms already determined acceptable.
4 This points to a movement among legal department opera ons managers to assess and weigh the risks involved with work that in-house counsel have tradi onally and automa cally done, then to allocate and delegate accordingly. Legal departments have to get be er at ering risk, says Dresden of McDonald s. They shouldn t manage everything as if it has the same risk. In the environment today, we don t have enough resources to be involved in everything. In-house counsel have to analyze risk and decide if this is something the client can do instead by u lizing templates and training provided by legal. Bowing to the Bottom Line Stretching budget dollars for tech func ons and other purposes remains a challenge for survey respondents and roundtable par cipants, some of whom shared the various ways their organiza ons approach the budge ng process. Some use a shared services model; others have dedicated IT staff embedded in the legal department. Some retain their budgets throughout the year, while others regularly revisit and revise theirs to reflect ongoing ma ers and needs. The same economic condi ons that have been driving the less is more mantra are also making it difficult to work proac vely, according to some par cipants. It s been a challenging economy, and we end up sacrificing some of the things we would like to do proac vely, explains Van Nice. We have to make the pitch every year for resources that will allow us to work proac vely. In some cases, the value may not be apparent for a few years, but my view is that we can spend the money now or we can spend it later. Some legal departments are s ll finding efficiencies and technologies that can help stretch limited budgets. Many companies are moving to the cloud for and document management, says Rich Seleznov, managing director of Huron Legal. That s part of the trend to maximizing the value of IT resources. So many organiza ons are trying to move away from basic infrastructure, so they can use their resources for a more strategic approach. Budge ng can also be complicated by the slack billing habits of some law firms. Aon worked to solve that problem by imposing me limits, according to Cambria. If a law firm submits an invoice line item that is older than 90 days, we don t pay it, he says. That s the rule built into our e-billing system, and if it s that late, the system kicks it out. Integrating E-Discovery Since the first Law Department Opera ons Survey, e-discovery has been an ongoing challenge for legal department opera ons managers. The good news is that for many roundtable par cipants, it has become a rou ne part of opera ons. Generally, par cipants say they have developed the internal exper se and technology to collect their own poten ally responsive documents from custodians. The bad news, though, is that most are s ll buried in Chart 1: Please select, in no particular order, the top three challenges of managing law department functions: Identify opportunities for business improvement & cost savings 47 Driving/Implementing change 47 Document ROI of the position to the corporation 31 Obtain funding 24 Managing a budget 22 Gain attorney respect 15 Stay abreast of law department technology 14 Managing a staff 14 Communicate successfully with the general counsel 5 Other 4 TIMES CHOSEN We re trying to be more strategic, particularly with the larger cases. We are taking a look at whether we should fight cases over a period of years or if it makes more sense to settle and realize an overall net savings. David Dresden, McDonald s Results of the Fourth Annual Law Department Operations Survey are based on responses from large U.S. companies (most of which are listed among the Fortune 500). The survey was conducted online between Aug. 17 and Sept. 27, For more informa on about the survey, or to purchase the full LDO survey results package, please contact Brad Blickstein at or The Law Department Operations Survey Advisory Board David Cambria, Chair Senior Director, Enterprise Informa on Management CDW Formerly Director of Global Opera ons, Law Department, Aon Ron Denton Business Services Manager, Legal Department ConocoPhillips David Grimes SVP, Director of Administra on, Legal Bank of America Michael Haysley Director, Legal Projects Waste Management Jeffrey D. Paquin Chief Opera ons Counsel, Legal Division Abbo Laboratories Heidi Rudolph Vice President, Government and Legal Affairs Sara Lee Corp. Kimberly A. Townsan Senior Manager, Legal Administra on United Technologies Corp. Aaron Van Nice Director of Opera ons, Law Department Baxter Interna onal The Fourth Annual Law Department Operations Survey Produced by InsideCounsel and Blickstein Group, in coopera on with Huron Legal David Cambria Editor Amy Stickel Editorial contributor Brad Blickstein Co-publisher Brian Van Dorn Survey management & analysis Tom Duggan Group publisher, InsideCounsel Pam Marsh Director, custom media, Summit Business Media David Port Editor, custom media, Summit Business Media Tim Ingersoll Design Inside the Numbers Tech Trendspotting With Mitratech Q. Fewer than half of respondents to the 4th Annual Law Department Opera ons Survey indicated plans to improve or evaluate a new ma er management and/or e-billing system in the next 12 months. Why is this so? And, since most respondents don t plan to pursue new ma er management systems, to what extent are law department opera ons managers making be er use of the ones they have? Sco Giordano, corporate technology counsel, Mitratech: Legal departments have become increasingly technology-savvy over the last decade, especially since 2008, when capital expenditures were largely put on hold. Kudos to the law department opera ons who understand that acquiring more technology is not a strategy; rather, making exis ng technology do more by reimagining legal department processes and reconfiguring that technology is. It s also important to note that ma er management and e-billing programs were originally separate tools that have been consolidated over me and most share a common feature set. law department opera ons recognize that that these point solu ons have reached the limits of their designs and there s li le merit from an economic or func onal perspec ve to replacing them every few years. What is much more interes ng is the migra on by law department opera ons away from point solu ons, to pla orm-based ones. Pla orms by their nature are adaptable to changes in opera onal and technological requirements, enabling rela vely rapid customiza on and integra on with other enterprise technology. It s the primary reason we ve invested so much in our pla orm, and we ve been impressed with how our clients have extended it. In one case, a global manufacturer reduced its FCPA-directed screening of new business partners from six months to one. In another, a global consumer products company mul plied the success of its an -piracy opera ons using pla orm technology. And in yet another, a global technology company consolidated and documented compliance training for 100,000+ employees. Expect to see this migra on con nue as law department opera ons share success stories with their peers the power and promise of pla orms is impossible to ignore.
5 Chart 2: How is your law department organized? By practice area 56.5 % By business unit 25.8 % By geography 8.1 % Other 9.7 % data and haven t yet taken the step of hos ng their own review pla orms, leaving that to either law firms or service providers. We are spending a lot of me on informa on management, understanding our data and documents and trying to decide if we can delete it, says Van Nice of Baxter. Most organiza ons have problems deciding when it s safe to delete data, according to Blane Erwin, vice president of research for Bridgeway So ware. He likens it to hoarding, saying, Organiza ons are trying to find out why people hold on to things. A hoarder holds on because they are afraid they are going to need it someday. It s the same dynamic in over-preserving data. Dele ng informa on that has been on legal hold is par cularly challenging. Despite escala ng storage costs, it s very difficult to get the li ga on team to take custodians off of legal hold, unless they are absolutely comfortable that there is no longer risk associated with that decision, says Martorana of Abbo. The holds issue will con nue to challenge legal departments, predicts Cambria. The ques on is, when should organiza ons release holds? The legal team is focused on risk avoidance, and they are always going to err on the side of keeping data, he says. When the IT team and the records management people don t get an answer from legal, they just buy more storage and do more of what they ve been doing. So you end up with storage and other data growing and growing and growing, and I just don t see it going away in the short-term. Chart 4: Which of the following metrics do you track? Chart 3: As legal holds become more extensive, organiza ons are devo ng more resources and people to implemen ng and managing them, according to Bobby Jahanbani, a director at Mitratech. Four or five years ago, a few people managed the legal hold, even in a very large organiza on. Some mes there was only one person one very busy person. Today, an organiza on can have 50 people trained to manage or administer the process, so it is much more dispersed. Data and Metrics Legal spend as a percentage of revenue and total expense 58.8 % Legal spend for proactive work versus dispute resolution 26.5 % Percentage of hours received at discounted rates 20.6 % Average or median bill rate by firm for particular groups of matters 44.1 % Total expenses by firm for particular groups of matters 67.6 % Days to resolution by firm or by particular groups of matters 29.4 % Attorney headcount based on percentage of revenue 41.2 % Total cost of outcome 50.0 % Ethics and compliance 47.1 % Approaches to tracking data and metrics vary widely among survey respondents and roundtable par cipants (see charts 3 & 4). Other 47.1 % Do you have a formalized metrics/reporting program? 32.8% NO 67.2% YES Chart 5: What types of alternative fee arrangements have you tried? At Baxter, for example, in-house counsel are increasingly responsible for managing outside counsel work. We look at individual cases and hold internal a orneys accountable for managing outside counsel, says Van Nice. We do annual budgets and a budget for the life of a ma er, then a orneys defend how they are managing outside counsel work and budgets. If budgets need to change, then the deputy general counsel needs to approve that. It should be inside counsel managing outside counsel on the work that needs to be done. But many mes in the past, outside counsel would just provide updates on the case, he says. Inside the Numbers Flat fee to handle all matters 65.9 % Flat fee by matter stages (e.g. for each deposition) 48.8 % Managing Change: Strategic Insight From Huron Legal Q. Respondents to the LDO survey rank Driving/ implementing change and Identify opportunities for business improvement and cost savings as their two greatest challenges. How to juggle these demands in this economy? Should one take priority over the other? And, how can legal department operations managers respond to the need to identify opportunities for business improvement and cost savings? Do you expect this to be an ongoing challenge, or will this become less important when the economy rebounds? Rich Seleznov, managing director of Huron Legal: These two demands do not need to be juggled, but rather managed in the proper sequence. Before driving change in an organiza on, one should take care to iden fy the best opportuni es for change that will have the greatest posi ve impact on the business and drive down costs. I suggest to begin iden fying the best opportuni es by asking the following ques ons: Fixed fee per matter 68.3 % Discount with possible bonus 53.7 % Success fee 36.6 % Contingency fee 29.3 % Capped fees 48.8 % Volume discounts 51.2 % What services is the legal department delivering to the business? To best answer this ques on, establish the baseline by quan fying how resources are currently being used. This includes Alternative Fee Arrangements Respondents and roundtable par cipants also approach alterna ve fee arrangements in varying ways (see chart 5). Some companies are bundling related work and sending out the bundle for RFP. McDonald s, meanwhile, is engaging in some fixed fee arrangements by ma er stages, then evalua ng how to proceed with the ma er, reports Dresden. The company is also beginning to explore other AFAs. But Dresden sees that approach as being a fairly limited one for his organiza on. One struggle we have is that an internal resource analysis as well as an analysis of how outside counsel are being used. How do we value the services currently being delivered? This is more of a qualita ve valua on of the work, based on risk and contribu on to achieving the company s strategy. It is not enough just to be busy; are all the legal resources focused on the most valuable work? Who is delivering the services? This ques on focuses on how the work is being sourced. It is important to understand whether the work is insourced or outsourced rela ve to the value of those legal services. Many factors need to be considered when op mizing the sourcing of work. What can be done to drive costs down while improving the quality of services delivered? Seek to iden fy changes in the current approach that can result in cost savings and the adop on of best prac ces. In iden fying ini a ves, make an effort to align internal resources to the most highly valued work while using law firms and other vendors most cost effec vely.
6 we use firms based on ma ers, and our top 10 firms shi every year, he says. That makes it more challenging to broadly use these types of arrangements. Faced with these and many other formidable challenges, legal department opera ons managers are finding new and crea ve ways to remain produc ve and proac ve, according to Blickstein. By priori zing and evalua ng risks, he says, law department opera ons managers will be able to bring their exper se and highest value to their clients. With proper preparation, more contracts can be handled at the business level. Their advising attorney doesn t need to be involved in every contract. Terri Martorana, Abbott Laboratories Chart 6: How often do you produce management reports for the following constituencies: WeeKLy MONTHLy QuARTeRLy ANNuALLy NeVeR General Counsel CEO Finance department Board of Directors Law department senior mgr Business unit heads Risk management department Inside the Numbers Exploring the E-Billing Edge With Bridgeway Software Q. Survey findings indicate that legal departments use e-billing to control external costs more than they use aggressive rate nego a on and alterna ve fee arrangements. Surprising? Blane Erwin, vice president of research for Bridgeway So ware: E-billing systems provide insight into the ac vi es and costs associated with outside counsel and have become indispensible for departments seeking greater control over external expenses. This control manifests itself in catching unexpected rate increases and billing errors, iden fying which firms are performing which ma er types, at what cost, and for what length of me. It s not surprising, then, that the most effec ve rate nego a ons and alterna ve fee arrangements come from departments that use e-billing solu ons. Q: How can legal departments make be er use of their e-billing systems to control costs and gain more meaningful insights into their func ons and rela onships with outside counsel and providers? Erwin: For many organiza ons, outside counsel fees represent a significant por on of their overall legal spend. E-billing solu ons provide the insight necessary to control those associated costs. However, to truly op mize performance, gain greater efficiency and make more informed decisions, legal department execu ves need visibility into all costs associated with the service they deliver, both internal and external. As such, today s legal departments require an integrated e-billing and ma er management solu on that provides complete financial transparency with regard to the costs, performance, meliness and outcomes of legal ma ers. With greater context into overall legal spend, organiza ons can analyze por olios of legal services with metrics such as: costs by me, by ma er or by outcome; dura on of me by ma er, by firm or by outcome; and, hours worked by ma er, by role or by task. Metrics like these provide the transparency legal department execu ves need to demonstrate the value of the legal services their departments provide. The Law Department Operations Survey Advisory Board wishes to thank our sponsors:
7 Collaborative Accountability for Legal and Compliance Departments Get the visibility you need to control costs and limit liability in legal operations and corporate compliance TeamConnect Legal Contract Management Early Case Assessment E-billing Entity Management Legal Hold Matter Management Service of Process Management TeamConnect GRC Regulations, Policies, & Procedures Control, Risk, & Audit Training, Compliance Programs, & Remedial Action Loss, Events, & Investigations TeamConnect and Mitratech are registered trademarks of Mitratech Holdings, Inc.
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