As legal department priorities shift, taking advantage of outside counsel data is key
For many legal departments, the outside counsel selection process still relies exclusively on word of mouth referrals. In fact, 47.4% of legal operations professionals say they have no formal process for hiring outside counsel, according to The Blickstein Group’s 15th Annual Law Department Operations (LDO) Survey Report. The report comments that “the methods used to engage outside counsel remain rooted in the past,” which is “extremely problematic.”
It makes sense that many attorneys aren’t taking advantage of outside counsel data and technology-driven procurement processes—the old saying “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” still rings true for many people. However, legal departments that are pursuing these avenues are often able to achieve ambitious cost-savings, time-savings and diversity goals. Priori’s Marketplace and Scout platforms offer ways to leverage data and technology to make the outside counsel hiring process seamless.
How Does Outside Counsel Data Improve Decision-Making?
Of course, there isn’t a perfect lawyer or firm across the board. Priorities shift from person to person, team to team and company to company for each new legal project or matter that requires outside counsel. A technology platform can enable you to make decisions with data by taking these shifting needs and optimizing the choices based on your criteria.
What types of outside counsel data should you be looking at to make better decisions? For legal teams looking for new providers, this all starts with our simple-to-use Marketplace RFP tool. For legal teams looking to enhance already existing relationships, Scout provides insights based on this data. The data points can include (among many others):
Expertise on specific topics
Courts they have appeared in front of
Judges they have appeared in front of
Jurisdictions they have worked in
Clients they’ve represented
Languages they speak
Fee arrangements they use
Our products enable legal departments to optimize for any and all of these factors, which has benefits for both legal department buyers as well as attorneys. Legal departments are able to find attorneys that excel at the specific work they need done, and attorneys connect with companies that they can serve well. These connections that Priori facilitates remove pain points from both sides of the equation.
Using Data to Augment Outside Counsel Relationships
When considering using outside counsel data versus personal referrals, it’s important to not see it as an “either/or.” Even when data is part of the process, personal relationships are still extraordinarily important in making outside counsel hiring decisions. Outside counsel data does not replace the human factor. What it does is help legal departments make better, more targeted decisions for the potentially hundreds of different types of legal projects and matters that come across their desks yearly.
If you’re looking to hire for a litigation, for example, and you have a particular firm that you always use for these types of projects, running a search on Priori’s Marketplace and finding other options that have the specific litigation expertise you need (maybe also in a certain jurisdiction or in front of a particular judge) opens up new opportunities and gives you new ways to achieve your outside goals—whether that might be cost savings, more flexibility, diversity or something else. Without that data, you might not have understood the market as well. We find that when legal departments incorporate easily accessible outside counsel data like this into their processes, they are a lot more satisfied with the results they achieve.
Better Insights to Achieve Your Outside Counsel Goals
The most important use of outside counsel data is the one that helps a legal department achieve its goals. According to the LDO Survey Report, the top two challenges that legal operations professionals face heading into the new year are implementing business process improvements and cost containment/savings. Making smart use of data through a platform like Priori can help your team address both of these challenges.
No matter what your requirements are for a legal project or matter—maybe it is an extremely specific type of contractual agreement or maybe it is something simpler like a geographical need—all of that data is available through Priori and when it comes together it can provide your team with the right information at the right time to make the right choice.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Priori Marketplace can help you find the perfect attorney and save time and money, submit an RFP today. Or, if you’d like to gain more insight into your existing outside counsel relationships, schedule a Scout demo.