Why law firm new business acceptance is no longer a ‘won and done’

September 7, 2018 RSS

Unified Business Acceptance: risk management for the entire client lifecycle

Want to learn how to use automatic alerts and client scoring to monitor new business criteria and risk beyond matter inception? Watch our webinar for more details.

The world of evaluating and initiating law firm new client business is much more complicated than even a few years ago. These days, firms need to ensure compliance with complex business acceptance factors long after initial conflicts, intake, and matter opening.

Here’s why the wheels can’t stop turning after client/matter approval.

Complex client terms

With corporate law departments under pressure to lower legal costs, clients now detail parameters for law firm staffing, acceptable expenses, rates, data security and more in complex outside counsel guidelines (OCG) and engagement letters. All of these client business terms must be communicated to legal team —and then monitored for compliance throughout the client lifecycle. Yet, most firms lack a systematic way to categorize, communicate and monitor OCG compliance. These OCG disconnects create ongoing billing disputes and write-off headaches. They also annoy clients.

Global due diligence

Law firm global privacy, “know your client”/anti-money laundering regulations and legislative efforts are mushrooming. These growing regulatory trends heighten global law firms’ upfront and ongoing new client due diligence requirements. However, countless firms lack efficient methods for scoring and analyzing these complicated regulatory risks. By the way, it’s not only about comprehensive regulatory analysis at inception — ongoing compliance monitoring and adjustments to wall off protected data, for example, must happen throughout a client lifecycle.

Operationalizing strategic planning

Law firms are acting more like businesses after the Great Recession cataclysm. Leading firms ink three and five year+ strategic plans as a matter of course. Yet few have embedded strategic priorities into business acceptance systems and workflows. Of course no one wants to turn away business. But what if accepting a small piece of business in one office, conflicts you out of a massive new global client being courted under the 3-year strategic plan?  Most firms have yet to operationalize strategic priorities across key processes including new business evaluation.

Revenue leakage

The 2018 State of the Legal Market shows ten years of declining AmLaw100 realization rates. As a result, firm leaders wield a laser beam on reducing billing disputes, write-offs and delinquent account receivables. COOs, CFOs, and management committees are increasingly introducing matter budget management and profitability metrics. Upfront and ongoing diligence on new client’s ability to pay on time is key to improving realization rates. Most firms don’t have an efficient way to keep up on client’s financial scores, payment trends.

How to get beyond “won and done”

So what are law firms to do in this world of new business acceptance complexity? For one, stop viewing this critical process as a “won and done” that ends at matter approval. Analysis, monitoring and communication needs to continue after inception. And it must be automated so nothing slips through the cracks. Even today’s strongest conflicts and intake technology is no longer sufficient — it stops at inception.

The good news? We solved this challenge for you. The Intapp Unified Business Acceptance Solution takes your new business process beyond inception. Watch our on-demand webinar to learn how you can:

  • Avoid downstream conflicts and billing disputes with automatic notices on client corporate tree changes, Paydex scores and OCG violations.
  • Gain firm-wide strategic new business alignment using configurable financial and strategic-fit scoring across the firm.
  • Protect data and monitor regulatory compliance throughout the client lifecycle —from inception forward.

Written by: Jennifer Roberts

Jennifer Roberts is responsible for the analytics and research component that supports thought leadership and new initiatives at Intapp. Leveraging her skills to advocate, evangelize and build data-fueled products and insight. She examines the legal industry to drive analytical intelligence that informs strategic decisions and solves organizational needs.


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