Leading An In-House Law Department Through Uncertain Times: Challenges and Opportunities for the Legal Operations Practitioner

While events and in-person meetings are on pause in the age of COVID, Bodhala has fully embraced the opportunity to learn and connect with others virtually.

Earlier today, Bodhala participated in Consero’s Virtual Knowledge Bridge – Leading An In-House Law Department Through Uncertain Times: Challenges & Opportunities For The Legal Operations Practitioner.

Throughout each session, leaders from top Fortune 500 companies shared how their legal departments have pivoted throughout COVID.

Here are our main takeaways:

  • It’s legal operations’ time to shine. As companies continue to work remotely, legal operations teams have been critical in ensuring the smooth, seamless transition of hundreds to thousands of employees. One attendee, a Head of Legal Operations, shared that her legal operations team turned into a daily command center, proving them to be an essential arm of the department. Legal operations teams have been brought on for additional support in various areas of their departments. Another attendee, an SVP & COO, Legal & Associate General Counsel, noted that his team shifted their focus to supply chain and public policy matters in a project management and data coordination capacity. To learn more about how legal operations professionals are championing their roles in response to COVID, check out our most recent whitepaper.
  • Increased cost pressures across departments. Though many attendees expressed that cost pressures existed before COVID, the pandemic has accelerated the need to operate economically. A Director of Legal Operations & Governance, shared that her company’s finance team is looking at all costs with heightened scrutiny, citing outside counsel spend as an area of focus. Another attendee expressed that there is heavier cost pressure within his legal department as he cited a 60% focus on internal costs and 40% focus on external costs – like outside counsel spend.
  • Varying levels of maturity within legal departments. As heard throughout this morning’s sessions, legal departments are operating at varying levels of maturity. Some teams have been quick to implement thoughtful cost reduction changes with their outside counsel while others are still getting their bearings amidst the crisis. A Manager of Legal Operations noted that her team is paying close attention to how their law firms share in the burden of this crisis as this will affect her team’s future panel arrangements. A number of attendees also noted that their legal department’s refused rate card increases in 2020, offering significant savings. Another attendee shared that his team locked in 2019 rates for two years, allowing 50% savings.

Bodhala’s Insights

Bodhala CEO and Co-Founder, Raj Goyle led attendees through examples of cost pressure challenges our clients’ legal departments have faced during the pandemic and how they leveraged Bodhala’s platform to take back the reins from their law firms.

As company executives evaluate spend categories with a keen eye, the need to optimize legal spend has become even more urgent. 

The key to implementing meaningful change is through data. 

Everything you need to know about outside legal spend is housed in data – from top timekeepers to average hourly rates, and everything in between.

If you’re considering relying on your e-biller – think again. 

Data pulled from e-billers is typically chaotic, and more often than not, inaccurate. Check out our infographic, 7 Reasons Why You Need More Than an E-biller to Create a Winning Legal Department, to learn more.

Now, more than ever before, companies are relying on their legal operations team to deliver actionable, data-backed initiatives that can guide the business through COVID and set the stage for a successful future.

Bodhala is here to help.

Hercules, “the god of all analytics platforms” is Bodhala’s trailblazing proprietary database that operates as a single source of truth for legal data, and provides our clients with a 360 view of the legal market.

Running on Hercules, the Bodhala platform has an intuitive dashboard that analyzes:

  • Rates
  • Observed discount percentages at relationship and practice area/work type level (anonymized)
  • Matter types
  • Factors that create peer sets, providing accurate apples-to-apples comparisons of cost and staffing

Our clients’ legal operations teams have championed their roles in response to varying cost pressures fueled by COVID.

With our platform, these legal teams have utilized data and metrics to review invoices with heightened scrutiny, implemented scorecards to create true side-by-side comparisons of law firm rates, shifted rate card negotiations to finance and procurement in order to focus on mission-critical work, and more. 

Bodhala’s COVID Resources

Even during times of economic turmoil, the legal industry continues to respond with inflated fees and a refusal to hold timekeepers accountable. This has a tragic consequence for your business.

Find efficiencies in your company’s legal spend — we’re here to help. Contact us to learn how Bodhala can assist with your spend optimization efforts.

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