Innovation Asset Blog

Does Outside Counsel Deserve the Boot?

Managing-Legal-Spending-BudgetMany chief legal officers are unsatisfied with their outside legal counsel. When taking a closer look at the costs and benefits of their relationships, CLOs find that the work simply hasn’t been commensurate with fees.

According to the 2017 ACC Chief Legal Officers Survey, 46% of CLOs are either going to fire, or have considered firing, their outside counsel for reasons of poor performance. As with most firing decisions, the surveyed CLOs tended to evaluate counsel with higher budgets more harshly.

About 66% of respondents went on to explain that they are not outright eliminating reliance on outside counsel, but changing firms to find a better fit.

Considering the significance that budget plays in decision-making for counsel relationships, we ask the question - how often and by what means are in-house legal teams evaluating the outside firms?

While there are a number of metrics that corporate legal teams can use to assign an overall  “good” or “bad” performance rating, monitoring legal spend is crucial to producing those results and making informed course corrections. Managing these expenses can be complicated depending on the way fees are structured, e.g. flat fees or blended hourly rates, and is inefficient for those who try to do it manually or with sub-optimal software.

In the case of intellectual property attorneys, fees are typically structured in hourly rates. This leads to variations in invoices, and it may be difficult for corporate innovation teams to get an aggregate view of legal spending. In response to this issue, we arm in-house legal counsel with a legal spend monitoring tool built right into Decipher, our intellectual property (IP) management solution.

Monitoring Legal Spend for IP with Decipher

On average, outside counsel costs are twice as high as internal attorney rates. Companies also rely on outside counsel as an integral part of the invention disclosure, patent review, and patent application process. Decipher was developed to unify innovation team efficiency and cost containment when it comes to IP development. It enables users to compare costs between:

  • Attorneys
  • Law firms
  • Type of work performed
  • Cases
  • Assets
  • And more

It’s all in the name of efficiency. The Decipher platform helps ensure that teams can quickly acquire the strongest IP protection at the lowest cost.

In the case of evaluating outside counsel, Decipher features an Outside Counsel Billing Automation module. This added feature performs invoice receiving and categorization under the LEDES billing standard and ties it directly to the work performed and the associated IP asset. With that visible connection between firm and asset, ROI evaluation becomes simple and fast.

Based on the findings of the ACC survey, simple and fast analysis is going to be necessary for a significant number of corporations if they’re hoping to catch underperformance before budget is wasted.

Are you interested in learning more about how Decipher makes a positive impact on a business’s bottom line and reduces costs for both in-house teams and outside counsel? Click here to download the Decipher ROI Study, or request a demo with our team of innovation experts.

Download the IP Management Software ROI Whitepaper

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.