Streamlining Legal Spend Process Leads to Cost and Time Savings
Challenge No consistent, standardized process exists for reviewing invoices.
All invoice processing was manual and often led to subjective reviews by busy attorneys or staff. Once an invoice was physically reviewed and approved, the legal department still had to manually feed the invoice into SAP and approve any edits. At times, payments were delayed as invoices were lost or sitting on someone’s desk. There was a real need to organize, standardize, and automate the invoice review and approval process.
With CounselLink, the legal department now has established billing guidelines, creating consistency within the legal department. The system automatically checks the date each invoice is submitted, and every charge description contained in each invoice against the billing guidelines, ensuring that timely and proper charges are made. As a result, Americold’s legal team handles more work in less time and with more accuracy—all without increasing headcount. VP and Deputy General Counsel Dan Deckbar said, “The invoices are scrubbed against the billing guidelines, and bills are reviewed objectively, helping invoices clear much faster. It’s easier on us. We typically don’t have law firms complaining that bills aren’t paid.” Christie Snezek, Commercial Paralegal, commented, “CounselLink reduces the time I spend on billing and invoices by more than 30% with the computerized scrubbing of the guidelines. Also, the full SAP integration with CounselLink makes the invoice feed into SAP effortless. It transfers at lightning speed, and it’s a huge paper and time savings—on top of the 30% I mentioned before.” CounselLink is so successful at streamlining Americold’s invoicing processes that, to date, the subscription has paid for itself from invoice adjustments alone.
CounselLink—rich on value and functionality
By implementing CounselLink, the Americold legal department streamlined and became the gatekeeper for all legal operations, which improved bill processing, law firm review, fee management, and reporting. “I think we are absolutely getting our value out of the system, and there’s even more that we can do with it,” explains Dan. “Since we’ve conquered our fee and invoicing struggle, I want us to use more of the matter management functionalities in addition to the spend management. I also use the cloud-based and Outlook integration functionalities. CounselLink has definitely made life easier for us in the office and on the go. And we’ve just gotten started.”
“Because all legal vendors and invoices are submitted to our department for approval through CounselLink, outside counsel rates and fees are much more transparent.”
— Dan Deckbar | VP and Deputy General Counsel
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Americold Logistics LLC, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is a leader in the temperature-controlled warehousing and logistics industry. Americold operates 181 sites in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina.
Americold’s small, internal legal department needed a way to handle an increasing amount of work and control spending without increasing headcount. Initially, the invoicing process was manual, without a consistent uniform discipline for reviewing rates and charges. In fact, some business units within the company could hire legal vendors and pay those firms without the legal department’s oversight or input, preventing a complete view of rates charged and legal spend. In addition, manual reports with basic financial data were not enough to meet management needs.
LexisNexis® CounselLink® offers Americold’s legal department a way to consolidate and streamline legal operations. Today, invoicing is automated and tailored to fit the legal department’s billing guidelines. Additionally, legal vendor selection, rates, and fees go through a review and approval process solely within the legal department, helping monitor outside legal services and overall legal spend. CounselLink customer support lends assistance by creating customized reports based upon Americold’s needs and management’s specific use.
- Handle more work in less time without increasing headcount within the legal department
- Reduce the time it takes to process invoices by at least 30% while also reducing paper and eliminating manual effort
- Review/approve fees and monitor rate changes to ensure vendor compliance with billing guidelines and control overall costs
- Realize an immediate return of investment from time and cost savings
- Generate reports that align with business objectives