As a law department manager, have you ever heard someone say something like, “I’ll enter the case budget info in the system when I have time—it’s not a priority.” Or, “I don’t have time to review over 100 outside counsel invoices.” Maybe you’ve said similar things yourself.
Doing More with Less
As companies strive to contain costs and reduce spend, they frequently put pressure on reducing headcount. Consequently, staff must do more with fewer resources. Law departments are not immune to this and already busy staff becomes even busier. When folks are swamped, they set priorities. They usually put administrative tasks lower on the ladder.
Yet, many of the things that fall into the “administrative” bucket are the things that enable you to monitor spend—the checks and balances. Legal operations tasks, such as matter management and e-billing systems administration. Invoice review. Important pieces of controlling costs, but often taking a back seat.
So, it becomes a catch 22. You reduce headcount to reduce costs. Reduced headcount means less time for remaining staff to do the things necessary to monitor and understand spend. As a result, the law department doesn’t realize the potential savings related to headcount reduction. The means defeats the end. Outsourcing or managed services can help.
Outsourcing and managed services provide flexibility. A law department might not need a full-time systems administrator or invoice reviewer. How could you justify hiring a person when there’s maybe only 15 hours of work per week for the role, or the amount of work varies from week to week? “We need to run reports on specific days. Someone has to handle accruals and various other tasks. We know all of this will typically total around forty hours for the month.” This type of situation is an exact fit for outsourcing and managed services. A company can get a dedicated, expert resource for however much time is necessary.
Outsourcing and managed service providers can tailor arrangements to meet whatever your situation requires. Maybe you need an on-call resource to answer ad-hoc requests on a daily basis. Or, maybe there’s a busy week every month. You can get the type of resources you need for just the amount of time you need them.
When you use managed services or outsourcing, you avoid issues related to additional FTE headcount. The law department’s important operational, administrative tasks get the attention they deserve. And the checks and balances on legal spend don’t go by the wayside. But the benefits go beyond simply who’s doing the work and making sure it continues to get done.
Outsourcing or managed services for legal systems administration and invoice review creates efficiency. Fewer interruptions and fewer distractions. No more interruptions from outside counsel firms that are having issues submitting invoices. No more spending a half-hour trouble-shooting a user’s login credentials. No more blocking-off hours to review a month’s worth of invoices. Outsourcing and managed services free-up time so attorneys and staff can better focus on substantive tasks. It does this while ensuring someone is taking care of the administrative tasks necessary for monitoring and controlling costs. That’s a win-win.