Overcoming The Hurdles of Outside Counsel Management

August 13, 2021

Law departments play an important role in formalizing relationships with technical, administrative, and contractors so that in the event of a problem, key figures can leap into action without delays. However, it is best to not forget that it is a two-way street and that those service providers must be held to the same compliance standards as in-house departments, to ensure the integrity of the supply chain. Law departments and their outside counsel need to be on the same page about the project’s parameters. Great relationships are built on trust and communication — both parties must be willing to understand and engage with each other.

Given the unique circumstances of last year, it has let every business leader be innovative and creative in overcoming the obstacles they have faced and coped with the changes that are happening. But some problems are present for a long time now even before the pandemic. 

Consistency 

The start of a partnership can be tricky, open communication should start at the first step of finding the perfect outside counsel. This comes with the preferences and understanding the need of the business like the level of experience of attorneys on a specific area needed, and also with the pandemic, the knowledge on technology gave emphasis on how important this is. Other things that are considered are the law firm's track record, rates, how diverse and inclusive it is, or what is their billing process.

With all this information requested oftentimes, law firms have a hard time overseeing all the data sent back to the client, one wrong or inconsistent answer can result in a rejection of the request. This leads to another set of back and forth messages that take a few days benefitting no one. However, a thorough evaluation can lead to a fruitful partnership and minimize the risk in the future when real problems arise.

Collaboration

During the coronavirus pandemic, 50% of companies currently have most of their workforce working remotely. For legal departments working with outside counsel and can be a struggle starting with onboarding up until the end of the partnership.

Outside counsel relies on the client's feedback with reports that provide what has been accomplished and give constant updates through numerous emails, law departments have to review if the files are up to their standard taking up a huge amount of time that draws them away from their core tasks. And with larger corporations that work on different matters at the same time which each presents unique issues, collaborative efforts need to be done internally and externally, and for it to be an effective one a systematic process has to be adopted and learned by both parties.

Security

Given the growing number of cybersecurity attacks headlining the news, this has highlighted the need for data protection laws and with the government giving attention to this topic stricter state and federal laws are on the rise. The number of Data Protection Laws is increasing each has stringent rules to follow and noncompliance by law firms and legal departments leads to serious consequences that can permanently damage their reputation. It has become a goal to find a secure way to store personal data and for distributed teams to communicate in a safe way.

Everyday legal departments need to ensure that their companies are compliant with the laws while balancing their responsibility in promoting the company through strategic goals with their outside counsel. 

Technology Adoption is the Next Step

In the past few years, technology adoption has significantly increased and businesses that have done so have resolved productivity issues and improve collaboration with their outside counsels. Tools like RFP have helped provide consistent information reducing the time for procurement while eBilling systems streamline the legal billing process and provide the benefits from shifting away from a manual review process.

Last year’s report from Bloomberg says that 8 out of 10 of the respondents say their office adopts new legal tech with confidence in increased efficiency. With the abundance of software in the market, it can be confusing to find which can help jump through the hurdles of managing outside counsel. But look no further with Counself, designed specifically for legal departments and enterprises that can easily integrate with industry-leading document and matter management systems and SSO. How can one platform solve these 3 problems?

Consistency Matters – Corporate law departments have the opportunity to only get the data they need with Counself. Choose to create the request from scratch or use the built-in set of best practice forms, questionnaires, and templates helping them get quality data and better decisions. Free attorney’s time with a searchable database of outside counsel, vendors, and other legal service providers in a centralized location. 

New Ways to Collaborate - Remote working has created gaps and interruption to productivity flow but with it being the norm for most people, communication does not have to suffer.  Counself's cloud platform provides an efficient way for law departments and their outside counsel, vendors, and their team. Optimize collaboration with fewer clicks and eliminate jumping from one window to the other when sharing documents, reports, or reviewing questionnaires.

Data Protection – Law departments are not the only ones who should be in compliance with security laws and regulations their outside counsel and third party vendors should too. Counself is an ISO 27001:2013 certified designed to streamline manual processes reducing the time needed to do the due diligence by 50%. Improve third-party risk management and do it conveniently, centrally, and with a full audit history.

You can learn more about Counself here or you can reach out to our team here.

  • Outside Counsel Management
  • Counself
  • Collaboration

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