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In all areas of business, best practices emerge from trial and error, from both successes and failures. At ELM Amplify 2022, we hosted a number of sessions in which we heard from our clients about the experience they’ve had with all aspects of legal operations so that all of our attendees could learn more about putting best practices into use. Once such session was entitled “Using change management to snuff out waste” and featured Tammy Thompson, Director of Litigation Services for Worley, and Cheryl Cowley, Director of Legal Administration for Santander.
Below are some of the most helpful quotes from our panelists on their best practices for change management and eliminating waste.
“We implemented TyMetrix 360° with scheduled reporting requirements. And, you know, our regional attorneys were taken back. They were challenging it and refused to cooperate at the beginning because we were taking the power away. So there was a lot of resistance because they felt like that their control had gone away when we implemented this global system.”
“A lot of the resistance was definitely cultural, Some of the folks that were ready to retire and some that were already supposed to be retired, they would refuse [to use] it. And others had that ‘you’re not the boss of me’ mentality. Some folks just refused. Even though they went to training, they refused to actually use TyMetrix 360°. But they all have executive or administrative assistants. I have them on board, and they’ve been very receptive. They’re the ones that keep TyMetrix 360° moving.”
“Change management is difficult because a lot of people have different views of what needs to be changed. So when you’re working on changing something, you’ve got to get everybody to buy into it. Without that, you’re going to have a more difficult time getting everybody to follow along. It’s finding those points of interest that allow people to buy into it and get on the train so that you can make it successful and make it work.”
“We have so many geographical locations, and they all have different entities and different mentalities. The ones that hadn’t been using the system would think ‘I didn’t have to do it before, so why should I have to do it now?’ And you also have the old school that are used to working on paper. We tried to find creative ways to get them to do those things differently. I had to get them comfortable with doing things online and showed them how much better it can be online.”
“Essentially my lawyers were doing what they were accustomed to and had done for years: essentially just approving an invoice without looking at it. That’s when I became interested in the off-the-shelf, preconfigured reports in TyMetrix 360°. And that’s how I ended up putting together a list of people who were approving everything and not rejecting any invoices. I brought that to our GC, who they listened to. Now, some of those folks are the best reviewers of invoices. You have to figure out who can influence the stakeholders. Build those alliances, tell them why they need the system, and then they’ll be your advocates.”
“I learned to ask the right questions. A lot of times when somebody wants to add a new firm [instead of using one that is already approved], I’ll say ‘This other person is also looking for a firm for this type of a matter. What do you guys think about this firm? Do you have anybody else you think could do this?’ Then it’s more of a dialogue instead of one-on-one. It’s getting everybody involved and making sure that adding that firm is the right thing to do.”
“We’ve made it really clear in our guidelines and engagement letter that whenever you are engaged on the matter, your rate will remain the same throughout the duration of the matter. I don’t care if it takes five years, we’re going to pay you the same rate when it’s finished.”
“I have no problems about rejecting rate increases. I feel pretty strongly about that because we’re covered. Our billing guidelines and engagement letter are very clear and concise. If you are a lawyer and you haven’t looked through those, what kind of lawyer are you for our matter?”
“Once you do something special for a law firm or go outside of the process, then that’s the way they’re always going to do it until you do the hard thing and reject an invoice or pay lower because of an adjustment. If you are always coming back and saying ‘Okay, let’s change that so you can submit after 120 days,’ your business rules aren’t working for you, and you’re not going to get anywhere. You have to really hold fast and say ‘We’ve made an exception many times, but this is the rule, you need to submit your invoices on time.’”
When you have to be right
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