As ELM17 drew to a close earlier today, even though some were eager to get to the airport or the beautiful Four Seasons pool, attendees took the time for valuable roundtables where they had the opportunity to talk and listen to their peers on a variety of key topics. Over the course of two productive sessions, ELM17 participants discussed their challenges and experience of the following subjects:

Controlling Outside Counsel Spend
Our clients talked about the increasing expectations their organizations have for controlling costs and mitigating risks in the legal function. Meanwhile, there is just as much pressure as ever to achieve the best legal outcomes. These competing forces are a challenge for the roundtable participants, but many have found tools that support success with both. Careful panel management and use of the right AFAs are among the methods cited as most helpful. Also mentioned was the handling of late invoice submissions from law firms. Although the goal is to encourage timely submission, guidelines that specify reduced payments for late invoices can also have a positive impact on spend.

Billing Guidelines and UTBMS Codes
Billing guideline compliance is an important goal for many participants, but, compared to the benchmarks covered by the discussion leaders, results have been mixed among the group. The key to good guideline compliance is a very steady focus applied to all invoices. Giving firms very specific information on how bills are out of compliance was noted a necessary step in ensuring better adherence moving forward. It’s also important to insist that law firms use UTBMS codes correctly on their invoices. One participant noted that firms sometimes employ very general codes that make it difficult for the eBilling system to properly flag or reject items.

Insurance Peer Group - High Value Reports
ELM17 attendees from the insurance industry came together to discuss how they use data and analytics in making important decisions about cases and overall claims department management. Many claims departments regularly run basic metrics that track spend by claim type, claim handler, and similar dimensions. But the group also shared their insights about additional analytics that help them to control case lifecycles and pinpoint potential problem areas before they affect the bottom line.

Globalization Focus Group
Participants joined from companies in varying stages of their globalization efforts and with a variety of goals. Wherever they were in their process, though, the group members shared their perspectives on common gobalization challenges and exchanged ideas for addressing them. Among the lessons learned were the importance of getting internal buy-in. One participant received resistance from colleagues in other departments until she shared information about the ROI, demonstrating the high cost of manual invoice processing.

It was a constructive day of clients speaking directly to one another about their challenges and how to overcome them to improve operations and results. This was the perfect way to cap off another productive and informative ELM Solutions user conference, with an exchange of ideas and strategies among peers. Attendees will be bringing an extraordinary level of knowledge and new approaches back home to apply in their roles and to share with colleagues.

Thank you to all of our attendees, presenters, partners, experts, and guests for a lively and fruitful ELM17. We appreciate your time and can't wait to see you next year in... San Diego!