Corporate lawyers need help managing the massive volume of data crossing their desks
In-house legal departments are at the epicentre of company risk management, but too often they lack clear information arising from multiple ongoing legal cases.
“Accessible and verified information is fundamental to effective risk management,” says Larry George, an experienced commercial lawyer and consultant at law firm Macfarlanes. “Data can only be used effectively and intelligently in risk management if it’s deliverable in timely, readily available, secure and uniform formats that make information sharing and analysis efficient and controllable.”
The problem for many corporate lawyers is the sheer amount of data generated in handling multiple law firms in multiple jurisdictions. With dozens of firms each reporting progress on several cases – often in different formats – the overworked company lawyer has little hope of giving the board the clear, overall picture it needs.
One of George’s multinational clients was facing just such a problem. “They suffered a material and highly publicised incident,” says George. “This, and the widespread and often inaccurate reporting, gave rise to civil and criminal actions in a multitude of jurisdictions against several different parties.” “In addition to instructing some 20 law firms, the board of the client’s parent company demanded that the in-house legal department create a critical path on a project management basis, to deal simultaneously with all the cases. No single software solution could be found that would handle this volume and complexity of information. So George approached Jeffrey Coorsh, a former banker, publisher and enterprise software entrepreneur, and the pair founded Newlands Horizons to develop a suite of software to do exactly that. The result was Legal-Horizons Q (L-HQ), which the principals believe is the most advanced project, case and matter management tool on the market. As Isabelle Rouche of Gide Loyrette Nouel, Paris says: “With this system we have achieved excellent control , saved time and substantial costs for our client.
The problem for many corporate lawyers is the sheer amount of data generated in handling multiple law firms in multiple jurisdictions
“Our intuitive, pay-as-you-go solution delivers control of hundreds of cases through various firms in different locations,” says Coorsh. “With modest amounts of training, lawyers across continents, and in multiple languages, can act rapidly and in concert under the direction of the in-house legal department while reducing overall costs to the client. The cost and status of cases can be reported in a more timely, synthesised and precise fashion and the capabilities of the software can be applied for eDiscovery and Major Group litigation.”
“L-HQ has made reporting to clients much quicker, easier and more direct,” says one user Jeff Isaacs, Partner Hill Dickinson LLP. “It enables lawyers to update the current status and position on any number of cases instantly. The document management aspects of the system recently turned a disclosure exercise on a particular case from a logistical quagmire into a manageable exercise.”