Webinar Recap: 7 Ways to Manage Cost Pressures in Your Legal Department

As corporate legal departments deal with the effects of COVID and begin to address the potential long-term impact on their business, Bodhala’s team of legal experts presented a complimentary webinar to guide attendees through various cost optimization strategies.

Hosted by Ketan Jhaveri, Bodhala’s President, and Chris Bennett, VP of Strategy, the pair dove into the challenges our clients have faced throughout the crisis and how they leveraged data and Bodhala’s platform to pivot accordingly.

From real estate to airlines, insurance to hospitals, we have witnessed “The Great Retrade” take shape across industries as companies try to conserve cash.

Jhaveri and Bennett explained that, historically, law firms have sheltered themselves from the negative impacts of crises, continually charging inflated fees while other industries suffer immensely. 

So why does this matter to you?

“With the shift in supply and demand, you need to keep a watchful eye on the billing practices conducted by your panel firms,” noted Bennett. It is now more important than ever for general counsels and legal operations professionals to protect their business from financial oversight and poor panel firm management.

Jhaveri posed the following question to the audience, “How is this downturn impacting your law firms and your work being handled by those firms,” adding “If they’re hounding you for an unpaid invoice, it’s likely things need to change.”

Data is the key to driving this change.

At Bodhala, we’re providing legal departments with the data they need to not only optimize their spend, but to justify it. 

Jhaveri added, “Law is not always about getting the lowest price – you do pay for quality and accessibility – but it is also about allocation and ensuring you’re hiring the right lawyer at the right law firm at the right price.”

Our team identified seven keys areas where general counsels and legal operations professionals leverage data to manage cost pressures within their legal departments, including:

  1. Rate Cards
  2. Matter RFPs
  3. Litigation
  4. Broken M&A Deals
  5. Law Firm Health
  6. Invoice Payments
  7. Bill Review

Here are some interesting discussion points from the webinar:

1. Bodhala client’s success with benchmarking

Our benchmarking methodology is based upon clustering – using like comparisons that can be measured against one another. With benchmarking, we arm clients with the information needed to start a data-driven conversation with their law firm. This drives clients towards the value they see fit and allows them to negotiate better rates by benchmarking their law firm against those of similar caliber. Recently, a Bodhala client leveraged our benchmarking capabilities to drive down the cost of a premier partner that they had been utilizing for years.

2. Bodhala enhances LEDES files

The Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard (LEDES) file was developed over two decades ago with the purpose of providing a standard data format for electronic invoices. While LEDES files serve their purpose of getting invoices paid, they provide no insights on spend or how to manage relationships with outside counsel. At Bodhala, we have created a data transformation team that ingests invoice data in the platform and transforms the data in a meaningful way that allows clients to make true apples-to-apples comparisons and provide actionable insights to their departments. 

3. Bodhala’s approach to UTBMS coding

Uniform Task-Based Management System (UTBMS) codes were created to standardize the categorization of legal work and expenses; however, they can be problematic. After evaluating UTBMS codes within insurance and finance clients, we have noticed that these codes have a multitude of gaps and overlaps. This led our team to create our own litigation AI model to apply the proper UTBMS codes to clients’ data. At best, UTBMS codes submitted by law firms are 60% accurate – our model performs with 99% accuracy.

4. Bodhala’s diversity functionalities

The law has historically been the least diverse, white-collar profession in the country. Five years ago, Bodhala launched a product allowing our clients to track which lawyers are handling their matters and their origination credit. Our clients are looking to drive actionable change in their law firm relationships.

To learn more about implementing these changes, you can check out our webinar recording here or download our most recent whitepapers, Legal Operations: Time to Shine and General Counsels: Taking the Lead.

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