Build a Better Program for Managing Legal Matters
General counsel and claims professionals must manage a lengthy, complex process with outside law firms to create budget and litigation plans, collect data, and make decisions that help ensure the best possible outcomes. Most organizations face challenges in consistently handling those tasks, leading to rising costs, billing disputes and poor case management.
A growing number of organizations are using legal matter management technology to standardize processes and create a more collaborative approach to working with outside counsel.
Read our Special Report on the Latest Legal Management Technology and Practices.
Legal Matter Management Software
With software tools such as CSC’s Legal Solutions Suite®, organizations are creating an efficient, end-to-end matter management process and getting better access to data to help make decisions about assignments, budgets and the disposition of cases.
Key benefits include:
Digitization of Information
While many operations use document imaging technology to scan and store paper files, some organizations have eliminated that step. CSC works with one large public entity to integrate information between its risk management information system and Legal Solutions Suite. The electronic claim file is simply transferred to the legal department without scanning or rekeying information. Even better, invoices and legal documents are submitted electronically by outside counsel, giving the legal department a single archive for all case-related information. Consequently, the organization has been able to capture and analyze a wealth of information about legal firm performance based on a wide range of factors including venues, judges, causes of action, settlement ranges and disposition methods.
Centralizing work in an electronic queue improves the workflow by identifying all activities that require the attention of general counsel, outside counsel or claims handlers. This capability was especially beneficial for one large insurance company
with thousands of legal cases across 50 states. Prior to introducing Legal Solutions Suite, the company faced numerous problems associated with missed deadlines and misplaced documents. Now all activities and deadlines are clearly assigned in To Do lists. Management reports available in the system provide an incentive for the company’s claims handlers and outside law firms to complete activities on time and within budget.
Keeping up to date on budget submissions and progress of cases helps organizations quickly identify which claims are candidates for fast-track closure. As the data repository builds and benchmarks are created, management will also be able to tell which matters might be spiraling out of control and need a higher level of management or executive intervention.
The ability to fast-track certain cases enables one leading insurer using Legal Solutions Suite to focus more time on mega-cases, which typically involve multiple legal firms and potentially high-dollar judgments. The company is able to track activities and costs by individuals or across all law firms, helping to identify potential bottlenecks and keep cases moving forward.
Litigation Guideline Enforcement
Many organizations have good litigation management guidelines in place but enforcement of these guidelines is virtually impossible given the hectic nature of manual processing. After implementing Legal Solutions Suite’s matter management tools for budget, staffing, litigation planning and pretrial reporting, a leading company made sure proper planning is followed for all cases. The system was set to deny invoicing until law firms comply with the company’s required documentation. Compliance with litigation management guidelines produced numerous efficiencies in the process by keeping everyone informed.
Both internal staff and outside counsel benefit from standardization. Internal users access the same panel counsel list, the same templates for data collection and the same forms for reviewing law firm updates, thus producing a consistent approach. After implementing standards in Legal Solutions Suite, one company was able to ease the transition of new claims staff and promote cross training of existing staff to handle the workload. The company was able to ensure that all of its claims handlers consistently perform litigation management tasks and that outside counsel also follow the company’s policies and procedures.
Service level agreements and litigation management guidelines are now enforced more uniformly across the panel list, eliminating the excessive use of exceptions and special processing for certain law firms. As a result, the company was able to get better metrics and give the management team the ability to truly compare law firms to one another based on outcomes.
Download the full report, Build a Better Program for Managing Legal Matters (PDF).