Taking a Page Out of the IT Handbook for Legal: The Legal Operations Service Desk
June 10, 2021
Law departments, like any other department, seek efficiency. In pursuing this goal, a law department faces the substantial challenge of fielding hundreds of requests from internal stakeholders and the law firms it engages. Typically, internal “clients” submit requests — like matter creation, updates, and closures, vendor onboarding, invoicing, and engagement letter processing — via email or with a phone call to any one of various members of the law department. All too often, multiple members of the law department receive the same request, resulting in redundant efforts and wasted time.
What’s a law department to do?
Fortunately, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Those who run IT departments figured out these issues years ago. They quickly realised they needed to triage service requests to handle the ever-increasing volume of submissions. They also recognised that they could increase efficiency by centralising and standardising the request intake process. Today, almost every sizeable IT department has a single way to submit a request for help. These organisations also understood the benefits of tracking requests and keeping requestors updated on what the team is doing to address the request. Typically, your request receives an identifying ticket number, and you receive alerts as the status of work on your request progresses, or should the IT support team require additional information. The updates continue until your matter is resolved.
This approach both creates efficiency for the IT department and increases customer satisfaction. First, it reduces the time and effort wasted when the same request comes in via multiple entry points. Second, it enables metrics to identify opportunities to improve the process and spot problems as they surface. Third, it helps reassure those requesting assistance that their matter is receiving the necessary attention.
The same model is readily adaptable to law departments. It involves combining service, technology, and automation. However, for many law departments, trying to set up a legal operations service desk is a Catch-22: the law department, already swamped with requests, lacks the time, resources, or personnel to stand up coordinate a team and implement a process. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone else could provide the technology, figure what service process will work best for your departments, and then implement it?
This is exactly the sort of work Elevate has done for numerous companies.
The combination of our extensive experience doing such work and our Enterprise Legal Management (ELM) platform puts Elevate in a unique position to help law departments increase their operational efficiency.
Whenever we work with a law department to create or optimise a legal ops service operation, Elevate’s Legal Operations team applies years of experience handling such projects. There is not much our team has not seen. We also know and apply best practices in centralising communications, using effective change management techniques, and creating metrics to assess volume, training, staffing levels, and other considerations that enable informed decision making. Finally, we have the technology necessary for the job. Our Manage Requests ELM module is a “force multiplier” that enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of a legal ops service function.
We approach these engagements systematically:
Identify Options: We begin with a simple yet proven evaluation methodology that leverages metrics and expertise to help understand the opportunities for greater efficiency through automation and process improvement. By understanding the types and volume of requests, developing measurable requirements for success, and defining technology needs and automation opportunities, we help solve the law department “requests” puzzle, create a plan, and execute off of it. While all of this may sound simple, any savvy law department will tell you it is not.
Implement Technology: We deploy technology to streamline the legal services provided by a law department. Our Manage Requests ELM module provides a structured way to collect and manage all work requests. It provides transparency throughout the request lifecycle and automates various reports to increase efficiency and provide insights. It can also:
- Maximise resources by routing requests to the appropriate individual based on availability, complexity, and workload.
- Reduce cycle time by collecting the required information upfront as part of receiving the initial request.
- Lessen the burden placed on legal professionals with self-service capabilities for specific tasks.
- Customise your workflows and create a structured collection process for any task.
Establishing intake and triage methodologies enables an organisation to implement an automated and centralised system for communications and tracking requests. This reduces email traffic, frees up the time of law department staff and lawyers, improves the customer service rate, and accelerates the resolution of requests.
Elevate is the partner that provides access to effective staffing, proven strategies, and leading technology for process and technology automation, complete with training and change management support. To find out more, please visit www.elevate.law.
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