Peer to Peer Magazine

March 2011

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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corporate client relationship have existed for many years in the world of insurance defense. The Value Challenge presented a further opportunity for MGC to: • Evaluate its internal practices • Leverage technology to improve process management • Reduce overhead costs to maximize the value offered to its clients MGC has made this a priority over the past two years, and key technologies have been implemented to enable significant savings and improve process efficiency. The goal has been to re-engineer document handling processes, determine staff utilization ratios, and eliminate unnecessary and obsolete practices. During this process, the firm quickly realized that many steps in document production and delivery were simply habits left over from the days of “The year-on- year savings have equated to more than $250,000” typewriters, carbon paper and analog tape recorders. By implementing technologies such as workflow digital dictation, with a focus on electronic document management and delivery, the firm has made huge strides in identifying specific positions, tasks and procedures that required restructuring or were deemed redundant. Extending these enterprise applications to attorneys’ smartphones have enabled them to spend more face time with their clients and optimize their productivity. Furthermore, the investment in technology has created the opportunity for greater levels of teamwork across the firm’s offices, maximizing the efficiency of existing support staff. MGC has experienced a 20 percent growth in attorney headcount during 2009 and 2010, while, as a result of leveraging these technologies, support staff costs have remained static. Subsequently, the year-on-year savings have equated to more than $250,000. These technology investments have enabled MGC to provide clients with fee arrangements that have been mutually beneficial, and that satisfy many of the key components outlined in the ACC Value Challenge. MEASURING VALUE In the current economic climate, arguably the most important component of meeting client expectations and preserving the financial viability of a law firm is in determining the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of your law practice. Managing partners have become quite familiar with words such as KPIs, analytics and metrics, along with the related components and challenges of alternative fee arrangements. Achieving this requires a devotion to deploying technology that captures data, and using that data to identify trends, improve work flow, streamline processes and provide the transparency expected by clients. More than ever, law firm leaders are — and must be — focused on building new strategies to ensure their financial viability and provide shrewd consumers with the value they are demanding. The post-recession business model in law firms will be based on a firm’s ability and willingness to build business strategy on analytics identified through the creative design, and utilization of technology to help address the very challenge the ACC has put to the market. ILTA Leah Beckham is the Chief Operating Officer for McAngus Goudelock & Courie, LLC, one of the largest insurance defense firms in North and South Carolina. Leah is also a founding member of Rocketship Consulting, which specializes in providing guidance to the legal industry –– particularly in the areas of governance and the development and measurement of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). She can be reached at lbeckham@mgclaw.com. Steve Butterworth is the President of BigHand, Inc., and has been working in the legal technology space since 1999. Steve has worked with many AmLaw 200 firms, integrating speech technology into their mobile device platforms, creating significant impact on firm overhead costs, workflow and profitability. He has helped broker partnerships with leading mobility vendors including RIM (BlackBerry) and Microsoft (Mobile). This has all been to the benefit of the legal community, helping thousands of lawyers around the world leverage their mobility platform beyond phone and email. He can be reached at steve.butterworth@bighand.com. Peer to Peer the quarterly magazine of ILTA 31

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