Legal Department Delivered Big Results on a Flat Budget

By on October 9, 2014

Ed Chang, LEXISNEXIS COUNSELLINK®

Pennsylvania-based Kennametal, a global industrial technology company that conducts business in more than 60 countries and has 80,000 customers worldwide, defined a new mission: to secure 40 percent of sales from the development of new products. For the company’s three-person IP team, that meant doing more with less, and they found themselves unable to keep up with the demands of safeguarding the company’s global IP without additional resources.

The department responded by investing in a matter management technology solution to better manage their billing and invoicing process. It helped them save nearly $100,000 annually by capturing billing violations, consolidating outside firms from 200 to 30, reducing administrative work by 4.5 days per month and automating bill review for compliance violations and making corrections as part of the process.

The company’s chief counsel says the original intention wasn’t to streamline work with outside firms, but that followed from the technology change. In order to gain clarity concerning billing, they established new billing protocols that included rules for what would fall under hourly rates and when alternative billing methods would apply. To establish more predictability on matter pricing and to make more accurate comparisons, they established fixed pricing on commodity-type legal matters, which were defined to include filing patents and trademarks in specific countries. The result was more accurate budgeting and planning.

These were significant changes for the company’s outside counsel, but they benefitted by being paid faster and with fewer errors.

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