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The Legal Ops Blog

There’s no doubt that one of the hottest trends in business (legal and otherwise) is artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Nearly all legal technology vendors are looking for creative ways to add AI/ML components to their existing software. Meanwhile, major corporations like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are investing in commoditizing ML utilities, thereby reducing entry barriers for small-to-medium-sized businesses. We’re entering a new and exciting digital revolution that will be equally if not…
It might sound clichéd, but communication is key to successful client/outside counsel relationships. Strong communication should exist from the Request for Proposal (RFP) to invoicing and throughout the life cycle of the relationship. Client frustration is seldom the result of a single isolated incident. More often, it results from a series of issues arising from poor communication. Nothing puts your clients in a worse position than having to explain an issue to their CEO or…
I practiced law for 11 years before joining Ballard Spahr’s Client Value and Innovation Team as a Legal Solutions Developer. During that time, my “document automation” process was the same as that of many other attorneys. I opened a “template” from a document management system with blanks scattered throughout boilerplate language or I filled in new information in a document from a prior case. There was nothing automatic about this process, aside from the repeated…
Outside counsel guidelines (OCGs) are a way for clients to set expectations regarding processes, procedures, and handling of matters. Common guidelines relate to rates and expenses (discounts, alternative fee arrangements, travel, and other cost-related exclusions); matter management (budget requirements, early case assessment, and settlement recommendations); and staffing (limits on utilizing first-year associates and more than one lawyer in meetings and on calls, and diversity requirements). Used properly, OCGs help outside counsel deliver more cost-effective, predictable,…
I once had a partner tell me that I am kind of like the Wizard of Oz. I go behind the scenes, operate a bunch of controls, and when I come out, we have everything we need to achieve operational success on a matter. Legal project management (LPM) is not magic. It is a disciplined way to manage legal matters through scoping, budgeting, tracking, and having proactive conversations with clients. When it first emerged in…
With the advent of user-friendly business intelligence and data analytics tools, a new role has emerged in corporate America and in many law firms: the “citizen data scientist“. Traditionally, dashboard and report creation …