With so much pressure legal budgets, the phrase "doing more for less" is now on every in-house legal department's agenda.
Applied to external costs, this mainly refers to Spend Management whether through e-billing, panel optimisation, rate negotiations, Alternative Fees Arrangements or other means
Applied to internal costs, doing more for less typically refers to:
- doing the right things (processes)
- with the right solutions (tools)
However, in order to determine what to do, it is crictical to start with understanding "what do we currently do". This is where Internal Time Management comes in.
Internal Time Managment Solutions (or workload Management) help in-house legal dpeartments identify who's working on what and for whom (which internal client).
While Outside Counsel still (largely) capture time in 6 minutes increments, Internal Time Management Solutions used by in-house legal teams typically track time at a much higher level. For example in half-day "blocks".
Beyond Matter "count"
Internal Time Management Solutions typically tie in with a matter management system and add an more qualitative "effort" dimension to Matter Management.
Matter Management Systems help track the overal number of matters but do not provide an overview of how intense a matter is.
John might only be working on 3 matters but they might be very time consumming.
Similarly, Jane might be working on 30 matters which all require a "lighter touch".
Tracking time against matters also allows for a finer internal recharching of legal costs to internal clients.
We have seen many cases where analysing statistics from an Internal Time Time Management system has allowed the General Counsel to defend headcount and even increase headcount. Being able to demonstrate that the team is truly working at full "utillisation" is the best way to manage these discussions
Driver for decisions
Similarly since "you can't manage what you can't measure", tracking time internally, whether for a specific period, team or for the whole function on on-going basis is the best to determine whether some repetitive, low value work, for example, could be externalised, to Law firms or Legal Outsourcing companies.