Law Firm Services
Cost Reduction & Spend Management
Administrators often don’t have the business management skills or negotiating savvy to bring significant cost savings to the large expenditure categories to which they have been delegated spending oversight.
Unfortunately, many law firms have given little strategic thought to these sources of often overlooked expenditure. Technology, print/copy/paperless, legal research and telecommunications costs are just some of the areas where Unbiased has saved, even small firms, millions of dollars. Instead of celebrating annual cost reductions of 1-5%, firms should be focused on larger areas of expenditure where cost savings can be north of 50%. These savings can then support investment in more strategic areas of spend and/or put more money in partner/shareholder pockets.
Our services can be further divided into the following:
Saving money appears never to go out of style!
Unbiased Consulting assesses and reviews your entire spend and expense portfolio, identifying contractual and tactical expense improvement, consolidation and general cost reduction and deal improvement opportunities. We derive recommendations in approach, timeline, return on investment and help with the negotiation and execution of more favorable expense agreements and payments.
Our team includes procurement experts, former industry, service or product insiders, technologists, operations professionals and resources who bring both vertical and category area of purchase, subject matter expertise. In addition, some of our team members are former, but now, non-practicing lawyers, who are do not offer substantive legal advice, as we are not a law firm, however our team helps you determine approaches and options. Our assessment, selection, recommendations and negotiation work is consistent with best practice. We are not in place to “beat up” your providers, rather we work with them to achieve your goals, but at a fair price.
We identify and manage the capture of invoices, sales agreements, agreements, appendices and exhibits and help prioritize both by timing and materiality, expense items that can improve your firm’s profits. Expenses and agreements span everything under the law firm’s domain, including but limited to marketing and PR, real estate, technology, experts, energy, benefits, consumables and many more. Our assessment and recommendations can address all CAPEX and OPEX items.
Our engagements typically begin with an assessment of your current state spend. We investigate what agreements exist, the recency and line items of spend, current and historic. Where agreement inventories do not exist, we help clients assemble. We often recommend low-cost contract management solutions to capture the artifacts as well as metadata including entity, contract expirations, a variety of terms, dates and other factors to be used to track obligations. Our team can also recommend and utilize “contract discovery” tools that apply machine learning to identify obligations and material data related to the agreements and spend.
The assessment typically identifies current state and identifies opportunities for cost savings and other provision and obligation improvements at a high level – and can identify the relative merits and spend reduction opportunities that exist.
Unbiased Consulting engagements most often move into a recommendations phase, where our consulting team assesses and recommends areas upon which and within which to focus. Recommendations, can include cost savings, contract and agreement strategy, consolidation and scope opportunities, terms recommendations and other material improvements. Our team brings many innovative ideas on where the firm can acheive improvement. While many in this market focus explicitly at short term, tactical cost reduction (where those companies can be paid), we find that immediate and direct cost reduction may not always in the best interest of the client, Also, we find that some will break the trust relationship between client and provider. We specifically do not do this. We recognize that most clients have long term relationships with many providers. We want to do nothing to erode that trust foundation. Applying immense pressure often causes the relationship harm and the goals of the firm to backfire. We do not impair the relationship and in many cases, our clients will ask that we gently (but firmly) help discuss our recommendations with their providers and servicers.
We want to note that not all recommendations derive direct costs savings. Improved contract terms have significant merit. If we can improve costs as well as contract terms, or a combination, those can be big wins. Reducing contractual risk to the firm and enabling more flexibility, we find have enormous value and our recommendations take strong note of both.
Last, we work with you to co-define the recommendations with the highest priority. Unbiased Consulting works with you to weigh spend materiality, risk, need, timeframes, benefits and even return on investment to prioritize and sequence the areas of spend deriving the highest benefit to the organization.
NEGOTIATION AND CONTRACTING
Base on agreed priority, our team defines a detailed path to vendor/provider so that the firm can realize desired objectives for savings, contents of contracts, and contract length. Unbiased Consulting has a unique method for contract negotiation which has been successful not only in achieving goals, but in putting firm and operational leadership at ease in the contracting environment.
Unbiased Consulting does not always negotiate directly with any provider or vendor. In many cases, we recommend, or the client prefers to lead the negotiation on their own. Our method is designed to educate our clients so they can achieve a or the desirable result. We work with you to define the strategy and approach, understand your needs, identify the needs of the provider in a way to optimize the outcomes. We often draft emails for clients to communicate desired changes and needs and help advise behind the scenes. Our dedication to customer service works helps support your goals and minimizes risk of accepting an undesirable contract, agreement, service or product.
The result is achievement of cost savings at a level beyond that of what the firm can typically negotiation on their own. In addition, we typically can beat the total results of our competitors. In many experience enables double digit percentage savings, improvement in array of information delivered, and contract terms that better meet the interests of individual clients.
PROCUREMENT AND ONGOING EXPENSE MANAGEMENT
Unbiased Consulting not only performs “one-time” reductions, but we also, as a premier consulting firm, help you define strategy, process organization and technology solutions to optimize the spend structure within your law firm. This often addresses the entire procurement lifecycle including expense and contract development, review and approval, signature (electronic, of course), procurement management and tracking, expense, invoice and payment authorizations and approvals and workflow, payment management, alternative payment approaches, methods and tools, and reporting and management of same.
Let the Unbiased Consulting team work for you. Let’s find money and efficiency opportunities!
Unbiased Consulting provides Best Practice Management at each phase in securing resources and managing the overall program, budgets and timeline to meet your firm’s expectations. Our holistic approach includes:
We get the “lay of the land” by reviewing and assessing current lease obligations and related documents. We meet with your Executive and Senior Management teams to discuss their observations around use of office space and concerns that they have in terms of supporting the firm and attorney expectations. We focus on what has changed during the Pandemic in terms of acceptance of telecommuting, changes in process, practical considerations for long-term office sharing, and relevance of office locations. We determine who best to engage in the process and how to leverage Real Estate industry expertise to your advantage.
REPORT & RECOMMENDATIONS
We compile the input from your firm leadership to create a hierarchy of needs as well as critical issues that need to be assessed and resolved prior to making Leasing or Real Estate changes to your existing office environment. We then propose program options and timelines to address these needs and move forward with key Real Estate decisions. Options include: (1) Audit of your lease terms and operating expenses, (2) Portfolio planning and (3) Office remodel or relocation.
PROGRESS & COST MANAGEMENT
Unbiased Consulting guides your team through each step in your Real Estate program with an understanding as to who to bring into the process and when. Details may include managing Brokerage services to assist you with leasing decisions, Architects to provide the design and detailed plans for a new or remodeled office space, as well as Construction, Engineering and AV firms to act on your plans. Unbiased Consulting ensures that everyone is focused on your financial and cultural priorities throughout the process.
Your internal team evaluates your print, copy, information governance, records management, reception, hospitality, physical security facilities management related contracts and expenditures, once every three to five years. They cannot be experts. Unbiased has experts who help law firms identify and document needs, provide recommendations specific to your situation and requirements, and implement approved recommendations to ensure rapid realization of savings. Use experts that have helped dozens of law firms and companies achieve real cost savings. The Unbiased team knows what you cannot.
Unbiased helps your firm reduce and control your technology costs, inventory and contracts. Technology contracts include legal research as well. But many activities in law firms are controlled by contracts with external providers. Unbiased can address many of these and help renegotiate the standard increases that often accompany them. Don’t take the risk of getting locked into technology obligations, pricing, licensing tiers and renewals that are not right for your firm. Your internal and user needs change over time, as do the technology vendors, features and pricing. Unbiased monitors the legal technology landscape (ahead of your contract expiration dates), in order to obtain the best contracts from your providers, based on your needs, not theirs.
When was the last time you looked at how your print requirements are sourced? Unbiased can help you optimize your print cost and typically delivers savings of over 30% of current spend. In addition, reducing reliance on paper can result in huge cost savings and efficiency. Unbiased can help plan and execute your evolution from paper-based files to electronic documents and workflow processes. Using automation, we find cost savings can total in the millions of dollars, even in small and mid-sized organizations.
Unbiased offers comprehensive, cost-effective services to manage your wired and wireless telecommunications costs, inventory and contracts.
Controlling communications costs has become increasingly difficult in the face of complex technologies, confusing invoices, vendor support problems, and a lack of internal tools and experienced resources. Telecommunication invoices continue to contain vendor billing errors, charges for unnecessary services or misapplied taxes. Other costly problems include (i) suboptimal pricing plans, (ii) billing for discontinued services, (iii) the inability to track inventory, services and contract expiration dates, and (iv) lack of transparency. Our team helps you cut the waste out of your telecom spend and provide you with the tools to keep these costs optimized into the future. The end result is improved cash flow, profitability and employee productivity.
Unbiased Consulting offers comprehensive services to law firms and legal departments for the management of legal research costs that include maximizing the content and terms of legal research contracts, so they meet the unique needs of the firm.
With 30 years of experience in legal research management, Unbiased Consulting has a database of evidence that no one size contract fits all firms—whether it is the term of contract, the costs involved, or resources used, even when the provider sources are the same, such as Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Bloomberg.
There are countless specialized resources as well. In this regard, a Products Liability firm, a Project Finance firm, an Intellectual Property firm, and a Bankruptcy firm may each have some of the same provider resources, but also each has distinct needs; the size of the firm may also warrant access to all or many of these.
Unbiased Consulting provides expertise in Managing the Costs, Content, Length, and Terms of legal research contracts and subscriptions. We recommend alternative products and services and offer access to our own lists of resources in certain limited practice areas.
Our comprehensive Legal Research Management process spans three stages:
AUDIT and ANALYSIS
No onsite visit is necessary to (1) gather contract documents, research records, and invoices relative to the size and practices areas of the firm; (2) introduce our Unbiased Consulting Project Leader to executives and operating personnel, managers, and technical staff responsible for research contracts or subscriptions; (3) discuss quality and training concerns of practice group heads; (4) discuss needs, problems, and favored resources with lawyers; (5) review budget and budgeting processes; and (6) finalize goals and objectives for legal research.
REPORT and RECOMMENDATIONS
We provide a detailed report of our analysis of documents and records and use interviews with users about challenges they encounter within their firm to identify the most favorable terms and the right mix of products and services to align with their needs. From these interactive contributions we identify the right resources and information providers and make recommendations about vendor relations, resource improvement, and training.
Our recommendations to the firm address options and opportunities about future contracting relative to the goals and objectives we uncover within the firm, as well as suggested changes in terms for the next contracting period that would benefit the firm. We assist with supervision, training, and communications required for beneficial changes to be readily accepted and achieved.
PLANNING and NEGOTIATION
Beginning with a new proposal or renewal offer from information vendors, the Plan will suggest a detailed path from vendor offers to the firm’s objectives for savings, contents of contracts, and contract length. Unbiased Consulting has a unique method for contract negotiation which has been successful not only in achieving goals, but in putting principals at ease in a contracting environment that can be difficult to understand.
Unbiased Consulting does not negotiate directly with any vendor, rather our method is designed to educate our clients so they can achieve a desirable result by the renewal dates, seldom with a need for extension. Our dedication to customer service works helps support your goals and minimizes risk of accepting an undesirable contract.
Just as each law firm and each contract differs from one other, Unbiased Consulting understands each information vendor’s sales team for each client has a different approach and mission. Our method is designed to assess these.
The result is achievement of cost savings at a level beyond that of any competitors. Our experience enables double digit percentage savings, improvement in array of information delivered, and contract terms that better meet the interests of individual clients.
Health and safety and risk management is a topic that is front and center for individuals, families, and businesses.
Opportunities to provide benefits to employees are substantial and varied and include new policy and investment standards conforming to recent demand. Human Resource Departments are overwhelmed, especially with the burden placed on them by regional mandates to meet COVID, yet employee benefit programs are provided with legal reasons to meet changing COVID standards that affect Unemployment Compensation, Workers Compensation, the Affordable Care Act, and even ERISA, which also are forms of insurance.
Employees want the most they can achieve in creating protection for their jobs, their health, their comfortable living conditions. These all have been challenged this past year. These or similar challenges promise to continue and change.
Insurance and related offers to employees can be enhanced to help firms remain or become more competitive or recruit and retain quality employees who are concerned about their well-being as it affects financial stability and the safety and well-being of their families. These concerns expand the region of concern from job to home and from home to the individual person.
Unbiased Consulting can help you create a portfolio of benefits that uniquely address the residential workplace, work-life balance programs, and offer the time and place to address investment options.
Our specialists in this area will audit your conventional insurance plans, propose supplemental benefits and enhancements, and introduce a larger number of opportunities for employees with little or no out-of-pocket expense to themselves or their employers. Further, valuable time from an HR staff can be saved with our effort already focused on these services. We address life insurance plans as well as lunch hour learning investments providing more employee interaction.
In addition to employee-related benefits, Unbiased Consulting evaluates insurance programs covering property and premises and causes of loss, such as cybersecurity, data loss, and equipment destruction. We can help provide you with the latest standards of coverage for managing risks, including coverage, whether by discrete area of concern, such as data theft, to more comprehensive arrangements, broader conditions of insurance, or addressing special needs through endorsements and additions.