Articles Posted in Process-Based Solutions to Legal Needs

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The Point

The conventional law firm — to maximize revenue — bills client companies hundreds per hour for the work of recent law graduates who are not yet capable of doing legal work unsupervised. (See here, here, and here.)

Accordingly, conventional business law firms — despite showcasing “innovation” specialists — actually resist cost-efficient, fast, and accurate process solutions and their enabling technologies to do routine, recurring, and lower-skill legal work. (See here and here.)

In commenting last week on EY’s incipient split (subscription) into distinct audit and consulting arms, Denton’s chair Joe Andrew offered three revealing observations (subscription) about deficiencies endemic to conventional law firms:

(1) Law firms as a category lag significantly in process-based solutions for client companies’ routine, recurring, and lower-skill legal tasks,

(2) This deficiency causes law firms to assign such routine, recurring, and lower-skill tasks to “young lawyers” as labor-intensive, “soul-crushing” work, and

(3) Law firms will not adopt needed process solutions on their own; only competitive pressure from outside the legal profession will bring this about (Mr. Andrew believes that it will come from the Big Four). Continue reading

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The Point

1. Responding to skyrocketing legal demands on business, the Legal function has two options:

(1) assign one or more lawyers, in-house or in a firm, to deliver legal expertise in one-off tasks (draft deal documents, court representation, counseling business people on how their actions are likely to be treated by courts or regulators), and

(2) use disciplined processes for systems that scale¬†Legal’s capabilities in routine and recurring tasks (see further explanation here¬†and here).

2. Law firms are organized to deliver only the first of the above two capabilities (though almost all law firms have long maintained technology-enabled processes for signing up new clients and matters, keeping track of time to be billed, and collecting their fees — i.e., to run their own businesses).

3. These days “CMS” is a hot topic: Many business enterprises are rethinking their “contract management systems” to improve creation, execution, analysis, and ongoing accessibility of their contracts.

4. Contract management systems can have a big impact on a company’s health — not least on accelerating the order-to-cash cycle. Continue reading

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