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Keep Cool and Remain in Compliance, Part Two: Implementing the Process

Implementing the Process

It’s tough to implement new business procedures for an area as complex as client commitment management. The complexity is compounded in that a firm needs to proceed on two fronts simultaneously: tackling a repository of several hundred executed commitments (“backfile”) that need to be categorized and addressing new client commitments as they’re received or generated by the law firm (“in process”).

Intapp recommends the following approach.

  1. Prioritize processing what’s in the backfile. For example:
    • Commitments made to active (not inactive) clients
    • Commitments that are in an accessible format (some materials might be so old as to require substantial effort to convert)
    • Commitments associated with important clients (based on revenue, industry, or practice area)
    • Commitments that have critical or non-standard terms (e.g., billing arrangements, unusual definition of client, onerous data security)
    • Umbrella/panel terms that apply to multiple client entities.
    • Time frame (recently executed versus oldest first)
    • Type of commitment (e.g., outside counsel guidelines, non-standard firm-authored engagement letters, and requests for proposal)
  2. Test the suitability of the categorization lexicon for clarity, level of detail, and comprehensiveness against a variety of commitment types, jurisdictions, and practice areas.
  3. Document the formal processing steps; formality is needed to foster collaboration across multiple independent teams.
  4. Hire a managed-review vendor or use your firm’s existing contract lawyers to categorize the backfile; these professionals provide excellent support as they often categorize contractual documents for litigation support projects.
  5. Train permanent staff on their new responsibilities. Monitor throughput and confirm that current staffing levels can meet service commitments.
  6. Initially, quality assure all to address problems early on, and monitor throughput to project how long temporary staff will be needed or if additional permanent resources are needed.

Formality in defining new roles, mapping cross-administrative team workflows, using experienced managed-review vendors to handle the backfile, and quality assuring initial work is the winning combination to bring this new administrative responsibility to life.

Discover how Intapp Terms can boost your firm’s efficiency and be sure to read Part One of our “Keep Cool and Remain in Compliance” series for a summary on roles and model processes for client commitment management.

Download the full white paper to learn more about implementing a process for client matter management.