How Should ELM Align With CLOC Core Competencies?
The role and responsibilities of your organization’s legal operations department are constantly evolving, increasing and growing more complex.
To reflect this, the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) has defined and updated the functional areas that involve Legal Ops teams – the CLOC Core 12.
Does your Legal Ops team have the right technology and process support for each of these core competencies? Are you using an Enterprise Legal Management (ELM) software solution, or considering one? Does it help you deliver against these twelve areas, or perhaps even hold you back?
The value of ELM user adoption to Legal Ops
Let’s get straight to it – user adoption is key to realizing the operational efficiency and ROI that ELM software can provide. To use an ELM platform to enable a Legal Ops team to meet CLOC core competencies, it first has to see adoption. And adoption comes from ease of use and other factors beyond mere price.
In fact, according to IDC’s 2020 Legal Technology Buyer Survey, the most important functions buyers look for are ease of use (29.8%), advanced analytics and/or AI (28.8%), and security (27.8%).
Consulting your internal UI/UIX resources as well as your own staff can help you keep up with the latest user preferences. Making sure your legal department is up-to-date with new features they’ll actually use will vastly impact efficiency and productivity.
These evolving user expectations also influence delivery and device. Yes, the legal sector acceptance of SaaS solutions for legal and risk management developed more slowly than other technology segments. That’s understandable, because of the sensitivity of the information and data being hosted. However, that’s becoming a fact of the past as fear is quickly dissipating among today’s users.
Modern users of any technology demand a modern experience. The expectation of mobile optimization, applications, and workflows that foster ease-of-use and make day-to-day operations convenient and flexible are all key elements that should impact your ELM solution decision.
Another factor that can drive user adoption? Holding informational sessions to help attorneys and Legal Ops staff learn about new technologies being implemented. Lunch-and-learns or instructional videos are useful in helping to drive adoption. It’ll make a transition easier if you ensure everyone involved understands the business case behind adoption, and how the technology will benefit their respective roles on an everyday basis.
Here are the 12 core competencies, and how the right ELM software solution ought to empower you in maximizing them.
Business Intelligence – Make better decisions through data.
This is all about the collection and analysis of data from department and industry sources deliver business intelligence and improve decision-making by end-users. A best-in-class ELM solution will provide you with the engine you need to surface actionable data-driven insights through interactive dashboards, create and run standard and complex reports, and search throughout your single source of truth. Ideally, you should also be able to integrate relevant data from other systems and sources.
Financial Management – Maximize your resources through sound budgeting and spend control
In an era of tightening corporate budgets but increasing demands on the legal department, managing departmental and matter budgets, tracking accruals and forecasting, identifying spending trends, finding potential cost savings and efficiency opportunities is vital. Your ELM solution should enable you to create budgets automatically upon matter creation and ensure that all data is included, budget at multiple levels, track accruals and actuals down to the matter, phase and task level and automate notifications as milestones in the budget are hit.
Firm and Vendor Management – Develop outside relationships that deliver value
Legal Ops should lead the creation of an outside firm & service vendor management program to insure quality outside counsel support at the right rates and under optimal fee arrangements. If your solution is thorough, it should use a combination of scorecards and dashboards to deliver BI to your users to enable comparisons of firms.
Over time, you could use these tools to optimize the mix of outside counsel. Why would this be important to have in an ELM solution? Because organizations that implement e-Billing for the first time will realize at least 5% in legal spend savings simply through consistent enforcement of billing guidelines. The ability to optimize the mix of timekeepers selected would allow for additional legal spend savings of 5% or more beyond what e-Billing delivers.
Information Governance – Design information policies that fit your business and minimize risk
Your organization develops information governance policies, and your chosen ELM solution should help enforce them by requiring end users to capture consistent data in matter management and creating a complete audit trail of all changes to that data. In the legal department, the sensitivity of the data being dealt with makes its security a paramount concern.
Knowledge Management – Tap the knowledge and capability of your entire organization
Knowledge management should be one of the cornerstone capabilities your ELM software solution offers. You should be able to embed legal best practices into your processes, and the product’s out-of-the-box features should also derive from years of matter management implementation experience, offering your organization unrivaled guidance.
The right solution will deliver this along with the self-sufficiency for you to create data fields, new record types, and configure existing records at any time. The ability to re-assign matters quickly from a search view ensures business continuity as your legal staff evolves.
Organizational Optimization and Health – Build effective and motivated teams
Your solution’s dashboards should provide visibility around goals and KPIs, visibility that helps in motivating teams. The efficiency and control this can provide will alleviate the fatigue and concerns brought on by traditional practices, which can leave staff in the dark about the status of a matter or initiative, and builds greater engagement, collaboration, and teamwork.
Practice Operations – Free up your legal teams through focused practice operations
Your ELM should provide best practice-based records for all your different areas, as well as the ability to create new ones for emerging areas that may be a focus in the future. The end-user experience can be configured to only display what’s relevant to a specific practice area, providing customized support.
Project/Program Management – Launch and support special programs and initiatives
Any ELM initiative needs to focus not only on the technology, but on the people and processes involved in optimizing Legal Operations. As CLOC puts it,
Today, departments often struggle to find and retain knowledge and best practices. Most rely on unstructured “tribal knowledge” that fails to scale as the team grows or changes, forcing costly re-work.
An ELM platform will centralize needed information in a single source of truth that prevents errors, saves time, and enhances collaboration among teams. “Tribal knowledge” and best practices can be embedded in the processes and procedures that are designed using the solution, as well.
Service Delivery Models – Match the right work to the right resource
How well does your solution facilitate the delivery of legal services? It should do so by extending workflow automation tools to the business users served by the legal department. Legal services can be provided through self-service and request portals that enable digital transformation of processes that may be manual today.
If your ELM tool can automatically triage or assign work to individual staff members based on the information captured within a request, it can greatly reduce the time spent reviewing and assigning matters. That’s only one facet of how it can accelerate your responsiveness to client needs.
Strategic Planning – Set strategic goals that matter
Today, in-house legal teams can get buried under “need it now!” tasks that preclude them from attacking long-term needs. An ELM platform can help solve this challenge by freeing them from the excessive effort demanded by traditional processes, such as manual matter management and reporting and oversight. The result? They’re able to set and focus on true strategic priorities that are more aligned with long-term corporate and stakeholder objectives.
Technology – Innovate, automate, and solve problems with technology
From automating processes to improving efficiency and quality across departments, a single ELM solution is crucial here. Having an end-to-end platform that spans your department or organization, covering all of its needs, is a better answer to those challenges than disparate solutions that may include a patchwork of manual processes and ad hoc applications.
Equally important? Having a platform provider behind that ELM solution who offers a proven track record in support and co-innovation to ensure the success of that investment.
Training and Development – Support your team with targeted professional training
Using professional services and training resources such as the ones offered by your software provider gives your team the fundamentals they need to be effective and energized. You don’t just prepare your new employees and staff for success, but strengthen the overall team and help build skills across the organization.
Here, again, make sure your provider supplies the range of training and materials you need to extract maximum value from your ELM platform.
ELM and the CLOC Core 12: Is your solution doing the most it can?
Four of the current CLOC Board members are Mitratech clients. We’ve been an active partner and supporter of the CLOC community since its founding. Why does this matter? Because it means that we regularly review our technology solutions against the CLOC Legal Operations core competency model.
As you take a deeper dive into the CLOC core competencies, you’ll realize there’s a proper combination of people, process, and technology skills that are required to master each discipline. The questions you should ask are, how does the right ELM solution support these for your organization?