Although Outside Counsel Guidelines (OCG) have been part of the firm-client relationship for a few decades, law firms continue to struggle to manage and comply.
Originally, Outside Counsel Guidelines were created to help corporate legal departments communicate billing and case management guidelines to their law firms, mostly for litigation and high-volume transactional work. With the wide-spread adoption of Spend Management Systems (aka ebilling vendors), OCGs have been embraced by both large and medium corporate legal departments at a rate of 70% according to the 2019 CLO survey. As a result, OCGs have evolved significantly through the last several years.
Today, OCGs are a comprehensive document that defines nearly all aspects of the working relationship between corporate law departments and its firms. In addition to billing guidelines, OCGs typically address general terms and conditions, conflicts management, data privacy and information security, diversity composition, media relations, and much more.
OCGs have not only become all things to all parties within the law firm, but the guidelines and rules have increased significantly in complexity. Additionally, Spend Management Systems have become very sophisticated and extremely hard to comply with at all levels – from the attorneys all the way to the billing department.
Both the growing complexity and volume of OCGs, have put law firms at a disadvantage. Firms continue to find themselves overwhelmed with navigating and managing new and updated versions of each client’s briefs, operating reactively, rather than proactively. Something’s got to give. So, what do most law firms do today? They continue to add more staff to complete manual processes in order to check for compliance, rejections and appeal – and then chase attorneys to read the guidelines.
The lack of a comprehensive end-to-end solution to help law firms manage the entire compliance process from beginning to end so that they can become more efficient and get paid quickly and in full, is what moved us to create an automated solution, OCG Live™.
This release of OCG Live™ helps attorneys know and comply with the guidelines, brings all other parties into the compliance process, initiates accountability into the process and makes the billing department more efficient than ever before. These features, coupled with the power from previous releases to validate every timecard as it is saved against custom defined rules in real time, and to engage the timekeepers compliance at the point of time entry, help firms maximize the quality of their timecard inventory meeting client expectations, so firms can get paid in full, leaving zero dollars on the table.
With the right technology in place, law firms can continue to grow and scale profitability.