Kevin Caulfield, a product line director at Wolters Kluwer ELM Solutions, understands that general counsel don’t want their departments to be viewed solely as cost centers. Many of them strive to show how they can be good business partners with other parts of their organization by focusing on initiatives that will help reduce costs and generate revenue. To Caulfield, one of the ways this can be achieved is through enterprise legal management technology. Although many long-established corporate legal departments have already made good use of this technology, he says, there are many growing companies that still may not realize the benefits of an enterprise legal management solution. His remarks have been edited for length and style.

MCC: Let’s start with a basic question. What is enterprise legal management?

Caulfield: The core of enterprise legal management, or ELM, is legal matter management and e-billing (or spend management), but it also includes claims management, document management, business process management, and reporting and analytics. ELM is all about leveraging the solutions that are used by the legal function to achieve its overall business goals. So when we talk about ELM, we cite phrases such as “best practice workflows,” “invoice routing rules,” etc. These are some of the ways in which ELM helps corporate legal departments achieve goals such as improving efficiency, better managing costs, gaining visibility that improves decision making and enhancing collaboration with law firms. Simply stated, ELM is about better managing the business of law.

MCC: What are some of the trends and priorities for legal departments that are leading them to consider an enterprise legal management system with integrated matter management and e-billing?

Caulfield: There are a number of growing trends among legal departments, so I will focus on three: compliance with billing guidelines, security and data privacy, and cost containment. The nice thing about billing guideline compliance is that we actually have a standard in the legal industry called LEDES, which stands for Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard, which is a formatted file that is exchanged between law firms and corporate legal departments. So when a law firm is submitting an invoice, it comes in a format that the e-billing solution can check against outside counsel guidelines and flag or adjust items, saving time for invoice reviewers.