Corporate legal departments are dealing with more demands and pressure than ever before – managing matters and billing shouldn’t add to it. In today’s fast-paced business world, especially when everyone’s working remotely, there’s just no time to waste on paper billing and decentralized matter management. Too many solutions that aim to tackle these problems, however, make the processes overly convoluted or complex. Thankfully there’s a better way.
Meet SimpleLegal. The name says it all: legal operations can be simple when you can handle both e-billing and matter management in a single, streamlined tool that’s configurable to the needs of your department.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not. While it’s powerful, SimpleLegal really is that simple.
SimpleLegal eliminates the paper and tackles every aspect of the billing process, from invoicing to accruals.
Invoices in SimpleLegal are clean, showing only the information the user actually needs to see.
Every invoice in SimpleLegal is configured to the individual user, with no extraneous fields or irrelevant information. You instantly see the invoice number, the matter, the vendor or law firm submitting the invoice, and the amount being charged. When invoices have been reviewed and approved, they are sent to your AP or accounting system automatically – no one needs to touch them once they leave the legal department.
Invoices are routed to designated approvers, and those approvers can add additional approvers if necessary. Approvers are notified when invoices are ready, complete with links to the invoices and any notes that have been left for them. They’ll also see any budgets and accruals associated with the invoiced matter.
The goal is to get approvers in and out of the system as quickly as possible – invoice summaries at the top of every invoice reduce the time approvers would otherwise spend looking or scrolling through the invoice to find what they need. Allocations are clearly displayed, meaning you see right away how any invoice is divided across entities, cost codes, or business units, and those allocations can always be adjusted. If you require invoices to be submitted with task, activity, and expense codes, you’ll see those, too. All the information you need is on a single screen.
SimpleLegal users have the potential to access to hundreds of different reports based on a mountain of data. During implementation, SimpleLegal determines which reports you are likely to use the most and starts with those. Over time, the user can unlock and access additional reporting capabilities as needed.
One of the most useful reporting features is the Spend Dashboard, which gives a bird’s eye view of where all your money is going.
The spend dashboard can be filtered by vendor, office location, matter, practice area, entity, and more. Users can hover over a month and see how much money was spent outside, broken down by hours worked, fees, expenses, and discounts. The user can see average rates and hours worked by vendor, practice area, and matter. In addition to standard reports, you can build ad hoc reports or request SimpleLegal to build custom reports for the user.
With SimpleLegal, the user can feel comfortable that everything’s being monitored and managed, and that any red flags are easy to catch.
In SimpleLegal, you can budget any way you like – by department, practice area, vendor, matter, month, quarter, phase, and more. All your budgets are displayed in one place.
For each, you’ll clearly see how much was budgeted, how much is approved, how much is still pending, and how much is accruing. Hover over a budget and you’ll see where you stand and if you’re in the red. If you need to, you can set up rules to keep your budget healthy, such as flagging invoices over a certain amount or auto-rejecting invoices that exceed your budget.
One of the things SimpleLegal handles particularly well is accruals. Reporting accruals to finance or accounting has historically been a dreaded task, and one that’s been inefficiently handled over email.
SimpleLegal takes accruals off your plate and handles them automatically based on a schedule you create – you do the work once and never have to think about it again. Accrual requests and subsequent reminders go out automatically, including an email with a link to a screen where your vendor can fill out their estimated accruals by matter and just click submit.
This information is then automatically populated into a convenient report to send to accounting or finance. Handling accruals has never been easier.
Simple Matter Management
The other half of SimpleLegal is a streamlined matter management system. From a single screen, you have access to all your matters in one place.
Every SimpleLegal user has specific permissions that limit which matters they can see and interact with – attorneys might only have a few matters in their list, while administrators will see every matter in the department.
From your matter management screen, you see a wealth of information: what invoices are associated with the matter, their status, and how they’ve been allocated, who has permission to see the matter or edit it, any notes or updates users have left, any budgets associated with your matter, and how your matter is connected to other matters at the company. There’s also a powerful document management feature that allows you to set up as many folders as you want, name and categorize them appropriately, tag documents, and run full text searches.
Matters in SimpleLegal are based on templates, which are designated and named by your legal department. To create a matter, simply choose the correct template and enter the relevant matter data.
Because the system uses templates, data appears consistently across a given matter type when you’re looking at active matters. The goal of SimpleLegal is to eliminate as much data entry as possible for attorneys, so they can spend less time in the system and more time on growing the business.
Within the matter management side of SimpleLegal, you can easily run reports on your pending matters according to matter type, party, or other filters. The system also keeps track of what users are doing at all times, so you can see time and date stamps for any activity that’s ever done on a given matter. And because SimpleLegal is serious about security, you can even see the IP address of where your users were when they logged in. All the activity is reportable, which comes in handy for audits.
There’s also a Legal Requests function, where you can share SimpleLegal with the rest of the business (if you want to) and allow them to ask for legal help.
This doesn’t give them access to anything else in the system, only the requests they’ve submitted. The help request is sent directly to legal, and the requester can always see its status. It’s a great way to offer a self-help option to the business and streamline the process for how legal interacts with other departments.
Better Vendor Management
SimpleLegal also makes things easy for your vendors. They operate in a separate part of the system called CounselGO. Law firms and other vendors can submit their invoices through this portal in any format, such as LEDES and PDF, and then track those invoices as they move through the approval process. Similarly, vendors can submit budgets and timekeeper rates for review and approval.
Customer billing guidelines are set at this level, so every invoice is validated against those guidelines as it’s submitted. This removes the burden of invoice approvers having to go through line by line to verify charges. Any improper charges that are identified are either automatically rejected, flagged, or sent back to the firm for correction and resubmission.
E-billing, matter management, and CounselGO all come together as a single package – there’s no need to cobble together a piecemeal solution. Better yet, the system is configurable, meaning it can work for the smallest company or the biggest corporate legal department, and its scalability means it can grow as you grow.
Rounding out the picture you get great 24 hour customer support during the work week and a robust API that allows SimpleLegal to integrate seamlessly with the rest of the tools in your legal tech stack. SimpleLegal really is an all-in-one solution for corporate legal departments!
Stop wasting your time on billing and matter management and let SimpleLegal do the heavy lifting for you.