In-house law departments are experiencing a significant increase in work volume and complexity at a time their budgets are under scrutiny, a recent Law.com article reports. In fact, 98 percent of those surveyed say current economic conditions have required budget cuts in their legal departments.
This financial crunch is creating greater pressure on general counsel (GCs) to show CFOs and executive boards how their legal teams can reduce, manage and forecast costs to meet financial expectations – without compromising their mandate to lessen organizational risk by trying to accurately predict litigation outcomes.
Like other business unit leaders, GCs today must run their departments with an eye toward the bottom line. They need a more cost-efficient way to protect the organization from risk while aligning with stakeholders’ needs for more informed mitigation decisions.
So, GCs need access to greater and better data from a broad range of sources—for example, statistics on how judges rule in certain matters and industrywide figures on how long resolution takes—to improve those decisions. In addition, legal leaders and other executives making financial decisions need these powerful new tools that combine benchmarking with judicial analytics to offer enhanced insights ranging from how potential litigation plays out to which law firms are best for the job.
How data leads the way for legal
“Increasing demands on in-house counsel call for creative methods of coordinating with an organization’s financial goals while enhancing the delivery of legal services,” says Mark A. Smolik, General Counsel and board member of DHL Supply Chain Americas. He has witnessed firsthand how expectations of GCs have changed over the years.
Smolik’s advice? All in-house counsel should ask themselves: “What are you doing to convince your CEO and your CFO that you’re truly delivering value?”
This mindset requires law departments to make greater use of data, court analytics and industry benchmarking tools so they can calculate litigation risk and cost while monitoring the interaction between them. Those litigation and legal spend analytics will then allow for the prediction of outcomes based on numerous evaluations, including, for example, the qualitative performance of law firms the organizations may seek to hire.
“The most successful people are the ones that come in with the data, collaborate on the data, get people aligned with the data, make a decision on the data and act on it,” Smolik says.
Creating a better platform
Another issue facing in-house counsel is that they are so busy servicing their organization’s needs they lack the time to develop outside networks that provide industry benchmarking tools. In the past, such advice would be shared through networking. The absence of networks means in-house counsel may not know which law firms, strategies and jurisdictions their colleagues have found to be best for a particular case.
“They’re looking for ways to get access to data to help guide them in their decision-making,” Smolik adds.
GCs need a new type of platform to carry them through the process.
To address these issues, DXC Technology, which has extensive experience developing software for the insurance market and for monitoring claims litigation, is launching DXC Assure Legal Insights – a platform featuring data from all federal U.S. courts and almost all state and local courts. With access to this data, users can evaluate everything from the odds of whether a judge will rule in the organization’s favor, to the time a particular matter will take to resolve, to law firms’ win/loss records in a certain jurisdiction.
Only DXC Assure Legal Insights leverages cross-dataset analysis to combine cost benchmarking and court data in a single interface, enabling legal and claims teams to accurately analyze both matter outcomes and cost, as well as how they interact. To learn more, visit DXC Legal Solutions.
Pamela Brownstein is a freelance writer covering legal issues and the business of law.