Top Ten Tips for Leveraging Cutting-Edge Legal Research Technology to Control Legal Costs and Drive Client Value

June 20, 2011

In this ever-changing and leaner economic environment, corporate leWestlawNextgal departments expect outside counsel to deliver more effective and efficient legal services at a lower cost. Simultaneously, in-house counsel are investigating expense management initiatives as well as solutions for increasing efficiency and productivity. One way both are achieving these goals is by leveraging cutting-edge legal research technology. 

This article shares tips that in-house and outside counsel can immediately and easily implement to control legal research costs, drive significant productivity, improve internal efficiencies, and connect legal research to value-based billing.

1.    Modern legal research technology enables you to conduct research significantly faster, to increase savings and reduce costs. 

Attorneys who use modern legal research technology are able to be more efficient and productive. The increased efficiency means they bill fewer hours to the client and deliver dramatically better work-product faster and in a cost-effective way. This offers significant savings to the corporate client in the fees billed.  While firms conducting traditional billable-hour work will bill fewer hours, firms seeking to gain market share can differentiate their service to their clients through quality, efficiency and cost-control. In this economic climate, firms will remain profitable. Clients can trust that they are not being billed for inefficient research, and they will increasingly expect firms to use modern legal research technologies to drive value-based billing. Whether a law firm employs modern technology is a consideration when scoring the efficiency/process management of a law firm under the ACC Value Index.

The research quantifying the improved efficiency that technology delivers is compelling. In March of 2010, Thomson Reuters hired the Legal Research Center to define and determine legal research tasks and then assigned these tasks to 100 attorneys. Fifty of the attorneys conducted the research assignments with the previous legal research technology and the other half used modern technology. The results were significant. Attorneys using modern research technology successfully completed assignments 64% faster – almost 3 times faster – than those who used the previous generation of research. Even more compelling is that the fifty attorneys who used the previous generation of research were very familiar with it, but the fifty attorneys who used the modern research technology were unfamiliar with this research service and received only one hour of training prior to using it. In practice, these efficiencies and improved process management would benefit the client with lower bills, better research results and enhanced value.

In the year since its launch, more than 22,000 law firms; corporate law departments; and law departments in federal, state and local government organizations have upgraded to WestlawNext, including 37% of Am Law 100 law firms and 40% of the Fortune 100, as a way to reduce legal costs. Both outside and in-house counsels recognize the value and impact that WestlawNext has on the business of law.

Read more here on Top Ten Tips for Leveraging Cutting-Edge Legal Research Technology to Control Legal Costs and Drive Client Value written by Lydia Flocchini, Director, WestlawNext


Reprinted with permission from the Association of Corporate Counsel

[June 20, 2011] All Rights Reserved