One of the biggest challenges in-house counsel face is managing the uncertainty inherent in legal disputes or transactions. As part of The Saul Approach, we employ various resources to help promote predictability, transparency and proactive communication in the delivery of legal services. Our focus is on smart staffing, personalized budgets and project management tools.
The Right Team
Choosing the right team for a matter begins with Saul Ewing Experience & Knowledge (SEEK), our internal experience database, where we categorize all of our work by attorney, industry sector, service type, geography and date. SEEK allows us to identify attorneys with the precise experience that most aligns with the client needs at hand. Designated partners and practice management professionals serve as workflow coordinators. These individuals draw upon their long-term institutional knowledge, results from SEEK, and data on attorney availability, billing rates, and practice focuses to make smart staffing choices.
A Customized Budget
Depending on client needs, we create customized budgets at the matter, phase or task level. Using historical data and attorney input on the client and matter specifics at hand, our project management team creates a work plan detailing the matter phases, responsible team members and target dates of completion. We identify basic assumptions, risks that would drive divergence from the plan and the overall anticipated cost. We also analyze the distribution of time across similar cases or transactions to identify patterns and understand when a specific matter runs off-course compared to the average. This modeling tool helps build reliability into our budgeting process.
A Defined Process
Once a matter commences, our project management team helps to ensure that our legal work is aligned with the scope reflected in the work plan and budget. Using matter management software, we track actual hours and fees billed against budgeted time and monitor work volume, levels of task billing against budget thresholds, and the average rate at which the work is being performed. We share this information with our attorneys in real-time so that they may proactively communicate with clients about possible deviations from the plan or changes in strategy. We also utilize natural language algorithms to categorize time-entry narratives, which ultimately means that our clients receive more accurate reporting on the status of our work.