In late October, Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions welcomed legal operations leaders from across Europe to the 2018 EMEA ELM Forum in London. The event provided an opportunity for attendees to network, share tips, and discuss their successes. They also got updates on the latest ELM Solutions product offerings and a preview of what to expect from the 2019 roadmap.
The day began with an introduction from our General Manager Jonah Paransky, who emphasized the innovative ways ELM Solutions is introducing increased efficiency and ease of use for the legal operations function. For example, Jonah talked about the LegalVIEW® BillAnalyzer managed service offering, which relieves law departments of the burden of invoice review while improving law firm relationships and compliance with billing guidelines.
The Changing Legal Operations Landscape
We welcomed Jean-Michel Peronne, Global Administrator of Legal Fees for the Group Legal Function at Societe Generale, and Remy De Saint Girons, Associate Consultant for NEO Consult, to discuss technological innovation, which is beginning to have an impact on the day-to-day execution of legal operations. It’s far from a replacement for people, but AI technology, such as machine learning, is much more efficient at pattern recognition than people are. Legal operations is still, and will remain, people-centric, but legal departments are increasingly utilizing technology like AI tools to make their legal team more efficient and help them focus on the practice of law.
But innovation isn’t limited to in-house lawyers. Law firms are becoming innovators, as well. As legal operations technology proliferates, law firms are discovering new ways to achieve their clients’ goals via technology and improved processes.
With technology having quickly become commonplace in legal, it was good to hear some practical advice from our experts and attendees on how to get the most out of any project to implement or leverage legal technology. My key takeaways:
Know and document what success looks like at the outset. In order to be sure all are working toward the same goals, everyone needs to be in agreement on how success will be measured.
Forward planning and stakeholder alignment are necessary. Plan out each step of the project and have frequent touchpoints with stakeholders to ensure their ongoing needs are met.
Focus on the people involved as much as the technology itself. Users’ lives have to be improved in order for the technology to gain adoption and yield maximum value.
New Tools for European Users
Margie Sleboda and Vince Venturella from the Product Management team spoke to attendees about two exciting new tools that are now available for users in Europe: Office Companion Smart Assist and Legal Holds. Smart Assist allows TyMetrix® 360° users to perform key tasks from Microsoft Outlook, similarly to their Passport® user counterparts. The Legal Holds module is available on both platforms to improve the ease and efficiency of this important legal department work.
Office Companion redefines the legal workspace by bringing many core matter and spend management tasks into the Microsoft Office Suite, where most users spend the majority of their workday. By providing access to legal management workflows in Microsoft Outlook, Word, and other Office solutions, Office Companion reduces the need for users to switch back and forth between Office and Passport or TyMetrix 360°, saving time and frustration.
Our new Legal Holds module automates the critical process of preserving data that could be relevant to legal matters involving a client company. Instead of managing this important task using cumbersome manual processes and generic tools such as spreadsheets, legal departments can now create hold notifications, issue legal holds, and manage acknowledgements directly from Passport or TyMetrix 360°. Integrating legal holds increases efficiency and provides an easy way to track performance via reporting.
Communication Is Critical
The EMEA User Forum isn’t the only way to stay current on ELM Solutions plans and share knowledge among your legal operations peers. ELM Solutions offers user groups throughout the year to enhance communications with and among our clients. Clients connecting with each other is an important piece, which is why we focus on networking opportunities for our clients. As one attendee observed “The day was organized around presentations and workshops that give the opportunity to share experience between clients. I would like to say thank you for the impeccable job.”
It was great to get our clients together for our 3rd annual London forum. These are the people developing the legal operations disciplines within their companies, and because of that experience, they know how technology can help drive efficiency and improved outcomes for their teams. We are proud to have them as part of our client community.