Monday, December 10, 2012

Legal Process Outsourcing News

Round table outcome between the lawyer and Thomson Reuters

The round table conference between two legal favorites was chaired by William Robins, a corporate partner and chief operating officer at Keystone Law, to discuss New regulations, technology, competitors and customer expectations, business process management (BPM), business process outsourcing (BPO) and the use of technology within law.
The main motto of the conference was highlighted by Williams, “To some, this is just management speak and a foreign language which has no place among the art of law, At the heart of our discussion is the role of technology and strategic thinking in law firms to re-engineer how things are done and, in particular, how we can make operations quick and track able, predictable and efficient.”
The discussion started with Gary Jackson, operations director, Irwin Mitchell explaining how in the mid 80’s the concept of six sigma took birth. That in 90’s only did BPM received its contraception through GE. He explained the main features of BPM and how Toyota gave the ‘lean’ processes and ‘lean’ management. Nowadays management is the main agenda of financial services and investment outlets.

Adam Shutkever, chief operating officer, Riverview Law gave his piece of mind of current developments in the legal sector, which are applicable in UK according to him. Alternative business structures (ABS) is not as efficient in law firms according to Adam cause the clients have no idea of the comparison between two firms in relation with this “add catalyst” for change. Samantha Steer, FloSuite legal product manager, Thomson Reuters was confident that Firms will be driven by customers, particularly when there are new entrants coming to the market. Firms are starting to take more notice of what customers actually want, and if you look at in-house counsel they’re increasingly asking for changes to be made. For firms that haven’t started BPM, Crawford Hawley-Groat, director of IT, Maclay Murray & Spens explained that such firms should ask elementary questions like would I pay for this?’ When you look at the bill that lands in front of you for work that is carried out, stand back and think: ‘Am I getting value for this? Would I pay my own money for the service that I’m receiving?’ Crawford was of the thought that BPM requires time and reasons, that it is not an instant processable change for any law firm

As for analyzing a process effectively in a law firm, Jackson gave a simple turnover plan, that In a typical law firm there are partners who are  fee-earners, who dictate file notes. Historically those will be dictated via a secretary. The fee-earner will speak to the client, finish the call, then call upon the services of a secretary or a PA to take a note to reflect on what was said in that particular call. That then takes time and effort for two-people. If a partner can directly take notes, print then it is all done quickly with lots of energy and time saved. Shutkever said he was bewildered by the sophistication of work play in a law firm. Him being in a sector nowadays, he finds it ridiculous for the partner to have a call with the client and then go back in and call the secretary to dictate a note, presumably on paper, then maybe put it in the post afterwards. Abbey Ewan, director of business transformation, Simmons & Simmons said she had been too many conferences and all these years the issues which got mentioned were raised there too. But a little change had ever been made regarding them. Ewan discussed briefly about the pincer movement of ABS, legal process outsourcing (LPO), disruptive technology and the economic environment which was followed by debate like discussion. 

Legal Process Outsourcing

The problems which the management was facing, is according to Hawley-Groat, everybody’s problem. Ewan agreed with Crawford but in his experience lawyers spent very little time looking at the world around them and paying much more attention to what their clients had to say to them. The roundtable went on for some more precious time; the conference was at its productive best with giving an excellent insight into what the future holds for today’s law firms.

On asking about returning  to this discussion theme in 20 years’ time, Shutkever remarked that, “I think there will be few, if any, law firms structured as traditional partnerships and I don’t think anybody will get away with billing by the hour.”
Today’s successful law firms are already realizing the importance of striving to deliver a great customer experience, however it’s the firms that keep a close eye on streamlining their internal processes that will continue to flourish in the future.
Also Read: What is Legal Process Outsourcing 
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LPO includes customer satisfaction and business development.
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Can you highlight the processes that are needed if you plan to acquire law firms for sale? Is it possible to go through them yourself as an individual or it is needed to hire someone externally?

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