We're constantly adding new features and improvements to SimpleLegal. Here's what rolled out in January.
Raising the Bar
We understand why General Counsels at some companies put off buying an eBilling application as long as they possibly can. Software from legacy vendors can be clunky and hard to setup. At SimpleLegal, we're raising the bar on what should be expected from an eBilling and Legal Spend Management software.
Here is our take on why you might benefit from Legal Spend Management software.
Deciding It's Time For eBilling
If your Invoices are sent to several different people and places (Accounts Payable, Finance, HR, different members of the Legal team)... If answering the question, "What's the status of my invoice?" takes way more time than it should... If Budget and Headcount conversations are more difficult because you don't have easy access to reports and data showing Expense by Matter or Expense by Matter Type... If tracking down law firms for Accrual Estimates is a time-consuming process...
...it's time for an eBilling solution.
Why In-House Legal Teams are Adopting E-Billing and Legal Spend Management Applications
E-Billing has become so popular because there are tangible results. Teams with a Legal Spend Management solution are better budgeted, more organized, and have a much better understanding of their Legal Spend. The General Counsel at one of our customers was told that he had the best system of any department in the entire company for tracking his expenses.
1) Saving Time & Money: Companies can save considerably on outside legal spending when they have easy access to intuitive data. One SimpleLegal customer was able to analyze billing information across multiple firms doing similar work. By making a few changes, they were able to save over $100,000 on their outside legal spend.
General Counsels and CFOs - More Productive Conversations with Data
Why are we spending so much in legal?
One SimpleLegal customer (public tech company with legal department that grew from a team of 1 to a team of 14) was told by his finance department that he "had the best system for tracking financials out of any department in the entire company."
When talking to general counsels, legal ops teams and CFO's, I seem to hear this comment very often:
We are too small for ebilling.
Why? What does that even mean. To qualify it - I don't mean just the 10 person small business, I mean the companies that have 5, 10 even 50 legal team members, spending tens of millions annually on outside counsel and maybe even be part of a public company. Why would they feel they are too small for ebilling?
Maybe ebilling (and other tools for in-house counsel) are just for "the big guys", and everyone else has to settle for email and Excel. But that can't be it, we have ebilling in our personal lives. Our banks give us the ability to pay online. Many service providers will ebill us. Apps like Mint allow us to aggregate our personal finances into easy to use dashboards providing KPI's, trends, and actionable content. So why is it that a legal team is too small?
There it is. That's your answer. You aren't too small, you are simply too small for legacy vendors. Too small of an account, too demanding, not enough users, etc, etc. Too small for the pain it requires to roll out legacy software that can't scale.
Because you are too small for them.
I'm lucky. I get to live in the future. I see self-driving cars every single day.
For companies, RFPs are all about the future. If your procurement department is going to the trouble of creating an RFP, you're probably buying a product (and a relationship) that you expect to use for the next 5-10 years.
And yet, every RFP I've ever seen only asks questions about what vendors can do today. It's time to ask your vendors to live in the future. I've helped write more than a few RFPs and I love the opportunity to help companies define their future.
If you're buying a product and a relationship that you expect to use for the next 5 to 10 years, it's important to know that a vendor will grow and evolve with your business.
Companies should add this one question to every RFP they issue: Are you The Future?
Are you The Future?
If you want more concrete questions (or you just don't want as many skeptical looks), try these instead:
- What are your product's capabilities today that it did not have a year? Five years ago?
- What are you doing today that you weren't doing five years ago?
- What are you no longer doing today that you were doing five years ago?
Too many vendors are doing basically the same things today that they were doing five years ago. They'll probably be doing the same things five years from now, too. Certainly, there will be new logos, new version numbers, and fresh proclamations about dynamic synergies in the cloud and on mobile. But not much will have actually changed and they certainly won't bring the future to your company.
In a world where "No one gets fired for buying X" it might feel safer to buy the past. But technology moves far too fast for that to be true for much longer. (Or maybe buying legacy is already no longer the safe choice.)
Companies that learn, innovate, and grow are shaping the future.
When you are evaluating vendors and their RFP responses and ask yourself:
- In 5 years, will their competitors be scrambling to catch up to them?
- In 5 years, are my slower competitors going to scrambling to catch up to me and all the greatness that I'm buying today?
- Are they the future?
The $390M acquisition of RelateIQ has provoked some interesting commentary about making data useful.
The legal industry has historically been a late adopter of technology. A large part of a lawyer's job is to protect clients from risk. But, the legal world is rapidly catching up. Today, law firms risk being left behind by their peers and clients if they aren't able to take advantage of the data available to them.
In the legal world, "predictive coding" has in-house attorneys excited at the prospect of quantifying risk earlier in the lifecycle of a case. But the opportunities to capitalize on predictive analytics don't stop there.
It's an exciting time in legal technology.
New companies are creating modern, easy-to-use software for in-house legal teams. General Counsels have more choice and more control at lower prices than ever before.
At SimpleLegal, we've built a modern eBilling and Matter Management platform without all the overhead.
It's currently a field dominated by giants including Serengeti offered by Thomson Reuters, CounselLink offered by LexisNexis, and TeamConnect offered by Mitratech.
We have all the standard functionality: Accruals, Budgets, eBilling, Matter Management, Law Firm Ratings. But, we made it all easy to use, easy to scale, easy to implement, and easy to fit into shrinking budgets.
And we're winning!
Until today, companies without an in-house legal team, were stuck dealing with PDF invoices. Company founders with access to World Cup stats on their wrist and fitness and diet data on their phones, have no data on the money they spend to protect their business, products, and employees.
Similarly, General Counsels at startups, having come from larger companies where they had access to data, suddenly find themselves re-typing invoices into Excel so they can have some basic information about cost.
The SimpleLegal Starter Edition helps these companies get data. SimpleLegal tracks invoices and provides intuitive, simple reports. Check out this 2-minute demo video to see how easy it is to get started.
Free for Most Companies
If you want to try it out, you can register for a 30-day free trial. After that, accounts are Free for the first user and first $250,000 in legal expense. Setup is incredibly easy. All you have to do is send a 3-sentence email to your law firm.
Some of our customers and potential customers have asked how law firms submit invoices through SimpleLegal. They don't want a pile of PDFs dumped on them, but they want something easy for their law firm, too.
We created SimpleLegal to be Simple for clients and Simple for firms. Check out this 44 second demo video showing what happens when a law firm wants to submit an invoice.
Predictive coding in the legal world usually means predicting the total cost of a matter or litigation. The idea is to use software to predict the likely end result ahead of time so that you can make better decisions.
Predictive Invoice Coding
Today, SimpleLegal is launching predictive coding for legal invoices. Early customers are seeing accuracy from our software of between 90%-97%. They are now review the results of our software and spend up to 90% less time coding invoices.
Ask any corporate lawyer and they'll tell you that they hate coding invoices. Legal invoices need all kinds of codes. UTBMS codes, task codes, project codes, customer codes, and cost codes.
Before SimpleLegal, invoices were printed out and so that codes could be handwritten line by line on the paper invoice. Then, the paper invoice was handed off to accounting to be re-typed into a spreadsheet and then entered into the payment system. It was a necessary but painful task.
Today, with SimpleLegal, invoice coding is primarily handled by software. The legal team no longer has to assign a code to each line. They only have to review the codes to verify that they are correct. We've reduced the time required to code an invoice by over 90%. More importantly, we've taken a task that no one likes, and we made software do it.