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Outside counsel management, like all vendor management activities – must simultaneously control costs and pursue diversity and inclusion objectives. Kroll holds the roadmap.
Cost control initiatives, data security and supply chain diversity management – all key points of emphasis for any large organization’s strategy – rely on your vendor management function. And yet this function might overlook the impact of outside counsel, thus providing incomplete and non-optimal results. Kroll’s seasoned professionals hold the expertise to create the processes, benchmarks, metrics, technology and analysis to guide a Chief Legal Officer toward reducing spending on and exposure to outside counsel, while enriching relationships with those external attorneys who remain essential to the enterprise.
While it is helpful – for some purposes – to think of outside counsel as a key ancillary to the inhouse counsel function, the experienced Chief Legal Officer knows that it is also a cost center. And, just like Quality Assurance or Human Resources or Marketing, it needs the discipline to run at peak operational efficiency.
Overall, legal vendor costs keep expanding prodigiously. Meanwhile, compliance costs are rising along with the advent of sustainability and data security criteria in addition to financial, operational, safety and other standards. If the compliance function misses a switch at the local, state, federal or transnational level, the resultant fines, work stoppage and reputational consequences can be daunting. The more stringently regulated the industry, the greater the risk.
Not only is it of paramount importance to manage and control legal costs, it is crucial that focus be maintained toward enhancing diversity and inclusion. It takes a team with broad perspective and experience to optimally implement any strategic imperative, and high-quality candidates can come from a wide array of backgrounds. This is true for any department of any large organization, so it makes no difference whether cost controls and diversity goals are handled internally or by outside counsel. While administering these functions is complex, it need not be difficult.
Outside Counsel Management Program Implementation
Vendor Selection Process
- Preferred, “best fit”, diverse and available
- Exception tracking
- Vendor profiles
- Metrics on performance and volume
Attorney Performance Evaluations
- Matter specific evaluations
Vendor Score Cards
- Evaluations over time
Management, Reporting and Optimization
- External and internal performance
- Time saved researching the “best fit” vendor
- Objective vs. subjective evaluations lead to better, and easier to determine, preferred vendor lists
Chief Legal Officers need a clear view of outside counsel data flows. A solid outside counsel management program is critical to establishing the right visibility, cost control, security and diversity initiatives required by modern corporate teams.
Benefits of Implementing a Successful Outside Counsel Vendor Management Program
A Better Understanding
While managing complexity is easier with the right tools and processes, organizational change is always fraught. Kroll’s team gives clients the context to do the hard work of making the internal adjustments necessary to adopt those tools and processes, and thus improve outside counsel management.
Cost-saving opportunities provide the incentives for change. These range from in-depth analysis of outside legal spend growth and trends to insights into the primary cost categories of the legal spend.
Just as complexity need not lead to difficulty, nor does it necessarily result in nonproductive time or missed opportunities. Much of what outside counsel does can be routinized or even automated. Once a set of benchmarks and metrics is in place, top management can set goals and measure improvements against a baseline.
By employing the same logic that drives process improvement on the factory floor or in the data center, a data-driven outside counsel management system predicated on a comprehensive vendor management program can refine the RFP process, standardize early case assessment and streamline billing arrangements.
At the same time, this system can leverage the collected data to measure achievement of diversity goals and facilitate access to information related to vendor retention, specifically the increased inclusion of diverse vendor firms and attorneys. It also tracks the past performance of all vendors.
The data collected and analyzed feed strategic decision-making in many other ways, particularly in relation to knowledge management, productivity management and collaboration tools.
End-to-End Outside Counsel Expertise
Kroll understands what makes the outside counsel role unique, and how it is unlike any other class of vendor an organization is likely to engage. And yet there are commonalities. An insightful Chief Legal Officer understands the importance of balancing the nuanced expertise retained with the empirical discipline required to manage it.
Talk to a Kroll outside counsel management service expert today.