Outside Counsel Guidelines and e-Billing: A panel discussion featuring law firm leaders and their clients

Williams Lea Tag (WLT) was delighted to join Sandpiper Partners as the sponsor of a roundtable on outside counsel guidelines and e-billing. More than 50 participants joined us for a lively discussion on the unique role outside counsel guidelines play in defining client relationships to law firms and the factors that are having the greatest impact on firm priorities.

WLT’s Managing Director, Tim Ryan was joined on the panel by leaders of large corporate legal departments and global law firms. The panelists’ experience provided diverse perspectives on the aspects of guidelines that are most important to corporate legal departments and the challenges firms have managing the range of unique outside counsel guidelines and e-Billing processes.

Here are three key takeaways from the discussion:
 

  1. Cyber security and data protection are growing in scope and importance

The client-side COOs reported a growing need for increasingly complex cyber and data security guidelines driven by new requirements and regulations that are being rolled out with greater frequency. Firms must respond to new cyber-related guideline requests for onsite audits, changes to onsite security policies and increased third-party cyber data/security adherence.
 

  1. Guidelines are evolving to meet corporate need for predictability and transparency in law firm relationships

The corporate law department panelists provided perspective on the influencers to their company’s outside counsel guidelines. Procurement and finance departments appear to have a growing influence on what’s included in outside counsel guidelines. Among their objectives are improving spend transparency, billing timeliness and accuracy, and aligning their legal departments with corporate practices and policies.

 

  1. Technology is a fast route to minimizing e-Billing complexity

The law firm panelists gave their thoughts on managing outside counsel guidelines and e-Billing systems that are different for each client. All agreed that e-Billing “done right” provides a competitive advantage but the challenge of managing so many formats and systems is daunting. The panel spoke of many potential technology solutions for managing e-billing but no one platform was cited as the magic bullet to simplify the e-Billing process.

To gain more insight on how law firms are responding to outside counsel guideline complexities and e-billing challenges, download our Trends and Opportunities in Law Firm Outsourcing Survey Report

WLT Sandpiper Report 2018