Financial Services Institution Focuses on Legal Matters
Client:Leading Banking and Investment Firm
- Implement a legal management system that would cut across divisions
- Enable visibility into all spending
- CSC's Legal Solutions Suite
- Centralized e-billing
- Launched dashboard to track cases across divisions
- Shortened turnaround time for payments by 60 days
Cutting Across Company Boundaries
With a rich heritage spanning three centuries, a leading banking and investment firm has grown from humble beginnings into a global corporation operating in more than 50 countries. The acquisition of a large retail bank provided the firm with a springboard for significant expansion in the United States. On the investment banking side, the firm provides major corporations with financing, risk management, investment and advisory services.
With businesses running on different general ledger platforms, the firm required an e-billing system that would cut across divisions to enable visibility into all spending in the Americas. It was the task of the firm’s legal department to find a legal management system that could work across its business units to handle the approximately 1,000 invoices that can be in the review through approval phases at any given time.
“We were using a tool that wasn’t as user friendly as we would have liked, and we were limited as far as the analysis and reporting we could do,” said the business manager of the firm’s legal department in the Americas. “We made the decision to take another look at what was offered in the marketplace.”
The firm invited three vendors to give demos, and then evaluated each system’s current capabilities, as well as the potential for customization. At the end of the review process, the firm chose CSC’s Legal Solutions Suite. A main selling point was CSC’s agreement to work with the firm to design a dashboard to sit on top of this e-billing solution and pull data not only from the e-billing system, but also from both general ledgers.
Gaining Insight Through Dashboards
“The dashboard that CSC built enabled sorting and slicing and dicing capabilities that have helped us look at spend by business, department and by law firm,” said the business manager of the legal department. “The database structure was built so that it ties in directly with how our general ledger is structured. As changes occur in the general ledger or business line structure, they flow through to the dashboard.”
On a monthly basis, the firm runs dashboard reports that show the top legal matters, as well as current legal spending by business line and law firm. On a weekly basis, the firm receives automatically generated reports on the aging of invoices.
“If there is anything out there that’s been aging, we need to understand why,” said the business manager. “If there seems to be an anomaly, if there’s unusual spend in a particular area, then the dashboard enables us to drill down and look at things on an invoice level.”
Working Smarter with Outside Counsel
Concurrently with implementing Legal Solutions Suite, the firm also implemented a panel of approved law firms. The legal panel turned out to be quite large, so at the conclusion of the first two-year term, the firm looked at reducing the panel to fewer law firms – particularly those with a deep understanding of the firm’s business. A smaller panel also helps with data analysis and budgeting.
“With a large number of firms, it’s harder to get your arms around all of the data, to really do meaningful analysis on where you’re spending your money and what you’re spending your money on,” the business manager said.
For this part of the process, the firm was able to use data pulled from Legal Solutions Suite. “It gives us a lot more information in terms of who we’re using, how we’re using them, and how they’re staffing jobs,” said the business manager. “So it gives us the ability to make adjustments along the way.”
For instance, the legal team can determine whether it makes sense to have a retainer in a particular area. Or they can look at the blended rate a firm is charging and compare its staffing to other firms. That knowledge, in turn, helps in negotiating rates.
Improving Processes and Workflow
While implementing the new system, the firm and CSC worked together to tailor the workflow to the company’s needs, which was instrumental in winning over both internal users and outside law firms.
“CSC worked with us to streamline the approval process, so that made a big difference,” the business manager said. “Overall, people were pleasantly surprised that it was pretty easy to use, and CSC did a good job providing training.”
The firm has experienced many benefits from using Legal Solutions Suite, and so has its legal panel. For instance, turnaround time on payment of invoices has gone from around 90 days to around 30 days.
“Overall, the feedback from the law firms has been very positive because they’ve been able to get paid a lot more quickly,” said the business manager. “And they can also see where things are in the process.”
Once the e-billing component was implemented, the firm worked with CSC to add a case management tool to replace the time-consuming Excel spreadsheets it had been using. The case management tool allows the firm to keep a running status of individual cases, to maintain all required information, and to easily provide reports to senior management.
“It’s a way for us to keep a real database and a history of what’s happening in a particular case,” the business manager explained.
The firm continues to fine-tune its processes and enjoys knowing that CSC is there for support. “What I like about CSC is that there’s a dedicated group of people that work on the legal technology solutions that are very accessible to me at the highest levels,” said the business manager. “At the same time, CSC is a large organization, and so they have stability behind them. Obviously that gives an added level of comfort.”
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