Thursday, September 14, 2017

Three Ways to Improve Your Team’s Experience with CounselLink

Implementing CounselLink was an important step in improving your legal operations, but for it to be truly successful the entire team needs to adapt. You want to make sure you are doing everything possible to make it easy and efficient for your legal department to take advantage of what CounselLink has to offer.

Make it Easier to Access with Single Sign-On

The most common support inquiry we get is users who have forgotten their passwords. It’s even more common from the more infrequent users of the system, which for CounselLink tend to be the senior members of your legal department.  The good news is CounselLink supports integration with your company’s single sign-on (SSO) system, and implementing it can provide benefits beyond improving user experience.

  • Improved security – limiting the number of passwords to remember increases the likelihood of stronger passwords that are kept confidential. SSO integration also allows compliance with corporate security initiatives and a central security policy.
  • Increased productivity – having different passwords for each application adds log-in time to each daily task, and exponentially increases the potential for problems that take a call to the help desk to solve.
  • Ability to adopt the latest CounselLink features – Some new features require SSO integration. For example, Legal Request allows people who are not CounselLink users but are on the corporate SSO to submit requests to the legal department.


Increase Value by Integrating with Accounts Payable System

Having a single financial process span two separate systems leads to frustration and errors. Having CounselLink integrated with your Accounts Payable (AP) solution allows for a streamlined invoice process that can provide benefits across the board.

  • Save time and reduce errors – automating the process of submitting an invoice for payment once it is approved in CounselLink can save your invoice administrators a lot of time and reduce the possibility of errors.
  • Increase visibility – an AP integration with CounselLink goes both ways. The data from your AP system feeds back into CounselLink, giving your department and outside counsel more visibility into the status of an invoice.

Optimize Your Process with Billing Guidelines Refinement

The CounselLink SmartReview® rules engine reviews each line item on an invoice for compliance with your billing guidelines and automatically flags errors, which saves your team a lot of time. However, if you have too few or too many rules it ends up putting a lot of manual work back on your team to review or add adjustments. Your rules were probably set during implementation and can be revisited now that your team and outside counsel have had more experience using CounselLink. We have found that when customers work with our experts to take a data driven approach to refining their billing guidelines they see a vast improvement in satisfaction and productivity.

Interested in implementing any of these initiatives? Contact your CounselLink Account Manager or fill out this form to have one of our experts follow-up with you.

Three Ways to Improve Your Team’s Experience with CounselLink posted first on

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

When It Comes to Enterprise Legal Software, Change Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

User adoption with your enterprise legal software got you stumped? In the world of enterprise legal software, many companies evaluate metrics like ROI, process automation and optimization, and reporting capability when making a vendor/software selection. With all of that to consider, the ease of user adoption often takes a backseat during the software evaluation process, but this might be a major oversight.

Not understanding organizational readiness for change and how it works with your ELM project may be a recipe for disaster. You’ve probably heard about how frequently IT and process improvement projects fail. The staggering theme all around is the human resistance to change.


The Adoption Struggle Is Real

In the last two-plus decades, I have spoken to clients who struggle with end-user adoption; in many cases, they miss an optimization opportunity with their software as well. A recurring theme of requesting a stronger partnership with the consulting team and their legal department has surfaced as well. They envision a more strategic and long-term relationship with these vendor resources in a way that can be gained on an ad-hoc basis.

Four Steps to Change Readiness

Choose a top-down and bottom-up approach. Change-champions can be found in the executive and individual contributor levels of an organization. Choose them abundantly and include individuals in all areas of the hierarchy. Having change agents throughout the organization significantly increases the success of your initiative.

Take a lesson from the Organizational Change Management experts. Over-communication of the what, who, how, where, when, and why message of your change initiative is key to your success. Using the top-down and bottom-up approach from above, your communication strategy should apply the same principles. Be prepared for the message to change depending on the user perspective. These messaging strategies should take these varying perspectives into account when building the communication plan.

Training, training, training. In the face of new systems and ever-changing processes, change-champion and end-user training is critical. Choose a vendor that offers training with delivery methods that include both virtual and instructor-led sessions with delivery options that are remote or on-site. Look for opportunities to show end-users how to get maximum utilization out of your enterprise legal software.

Use your vendor to supply strength. Professional service plans or managed service plans from your legal software vendor provide your legal department with guidance, allowing consulting services to get to industry best. These service plans are designed to tie back to the original needs of the software purchaser but look through the lens of the end-user and their adoption rate.

Ready to Make the Change?

At LexisNexis, with the CounselLink®’s Professional Services Plan, those desires are met with an annual plan that takes these needs into account.

The Professional Services Plan provides access to a team of consultants, report engineers, and trainers who provide needed services that help their clients:

  • Meet data demands more effectively with enhanced or customized reports
  • Resolve day-to-day legal operations issues faster with on-demand consulting
  • Onboard new users with customized virtual and on-site training solutions

Your technology purchase allows for your team to begin the transformation of change but this is truly just the beginning.

Advancing your company to be the best it can be is tricky, so a professional services plan with a highly skilled consulting and training team to help you roll out and manage your enterprise legal software is crucial.


When It Comes to Enterprise Legal Software, Change Doesn’t Have to Be Hard posted first on

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

CounselLink Impact Awards Part III

 “With CounselLink, we started realizing a savings in invoicing immediately”

The following Impact Awards submission was written by Brenda Simmons, Paralegal for Brasfield & Gorrie LLC. Ms. Simmons is one of three Impact Award winners for 2017. All three winning submissions are being featured in Business of Law blog posts from LexisNexis.


Brasfield & Gorrie had fifty years of matters, invoices, and contracts recorded on paper when I arrived.

It was my job to go through the paper and record it in an Excel spreadsheet to make it easy to find data. After a few months, I had it recorded and it was very helpful.

Brasfield & Gorrie was growing fast and was now a $2.6 billion company. Our General Counsel suggested that we may be ready to take a giant leap forward and purchase matter management software. We reviewed a lot of software over the next few months, and found it easy to narrow down to two possible winners.

One of the presenters was very good at salesmanship, but their software was just not the whole nine yards.

We scheduled an online interview with CounselLink from LexisNexis, and I could see there was something there.

After a second CounselLink presentation, it was easy to see that CounselLink could meet our current needs and LexisNexis had plans to continue developing it to make our purchase worth the money.

It didn’t take long before we wanted more, and increased our contract to a more advanced package.

After many years of paper, CounselLink has turned our matter management situation around. Yes, some of our outside law firms were pulled into the program kicking and screaming, but after a while, they also found that it was easier.


We now have all our matters, invoices, and many documents housed in CounselLink. As you can imagine, the outside firms (75-100 firms) were submitting invoices that had various rates (that changed monthly) and did not give good descriptions. It made it very hard to know just what we were approving.

With CounselLink we started realizing a savings in invoicing immediately. The first year resulted in a $60,000 savings, and now with our Billing Guidelines built into the system, CounselLink flags invoices with problems before they come to us.

We now have 12 offices throughout the Southeast, so matter management connects us.

I’d like to give a special shout-out to my incredible CounselLink AE Michael Wells. He makes it happen. Also to Deepro Basu and Doug Zickafoose for amazing dashboards that make a difference in my reporting life.

We look forward to a long productive relationship going forward with CounselLink.

CounselLink Impact Awards Part III posted first on

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

“President” of FAMU Band Charged in Tragic Hazing Death

“President” of FAMU Band Charged in Tragic Hazing Death
It’s been almost a year since Robert Champion was beaten to death in a hazing incident but Dante Martin has become the 12th person charged. Champion was killed during an alleged hazing incident where band members beat him on Florida A&M University’s band bus C in 2011. His senseless death made national headlines and raised questions about hazing at FAMU.

Hazing Attorney Las Vegas
Martin was allegedly the unofficial president of Bus C in 2011, reports USA Today. He was added as a defendant in the criminal case according to new court documents.
The charges filed by the prosecution: felony hazing in Champion’s death.

Detectives allege that Martin organized the hazing events on Bus C although prosecutors have not confirmed that, according to USA Today. Martin has also pled not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of hazing in a related incident.

The tragic events that led to Champions death involved a hazing ritual known as ‘crossing Bus C.’ Initiates of the ritual had to move from the front to the back of the bus while other band members assaulted them using their hands, feet, and other objects. Hazing is a serious offense that seems to be commonplace at all levels of sports, school, and social organizations that many states have taken steps to punish.
It’s considered more than just simple assault, however, even though it’s as serious crime in itself. Hazing requires that the injury happens as a result of some kind of initiation ritual into a club or organization. It is also possible to charge someone with hazing if no injury occurs but the initiation is dangerous enough to likely cause harm.

Reports of ‘crossing Bus C’ indicate that it was part of the initiation into the group, according to Orlando Sentinel. It’s also clear that Champion died of injuries that could be linked to physical assault. The trial will determine whether the defendants were actually participants in a hazing incident. In Martin’s case, there have been no allegations that he ever hit anyone according to his attorney. But that doesn’t negate the charges.

Hazing isn’t just the act itself. In many states, it’s also illegal to organize such rituals or to encourage others to participate. The charges against the defendants are all criminal but that doesn’t preclude civil charges as well. The investigation into Robert Champion’s death appears to be ongoing for now. Dante Martin is the latest person charged in the incident but he may not be the last.

Hazing is a strange phenomenon associated with the desire to be part of a group. It is difficult to understand why so many people subject themselves to so much pain and suffering in order to “belong.” It does not help that the vast majority of the participants in these rituals are younger; school age or slightly older – hazing is extremely common in the military as well. It may have something to do with the vulnerability of that age, in conjunction with the fact that some parts of the brain, particularly the frontal cortex, which regulates violent or antisocial behavior, and decision-making, is not fully developed until well into a person’s twenties.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Press Release | Lawsuit Filed in Wrongful Death of H.V. Newman Against TxDOT, Helena Chemical Company, and Wesley Wright


The post Press Release | Lawsuit Filed in Wrongful Death of H.V. Newman Against TxDOT, Helena Chemical Company, and Wesley Wright appeared first on Glasheen, Valles & Inderman.

Press Release | Lawsuit Filed in Wrongful Death of H.V. Newman Against TxDOT, Helena Chemical Company, and Wesley Wright posted first on

Friday, August 11, 2017

CounselLink Helps Long-Time Client, Publicly Traded Company Save $4.7MM, Endless Accruals Grief

The following Impact Awards submission was written by Dave Voelpel, Legal Operations Manager. Mr. Voelpel is one of three Impact Award winners for 2017. All three winning submissions are being featured in Business of Law blog posts from LexisNexis.


Oddly enough, I am not going to write about the $4.7 million cost savings we have realized from CounselLink, or the “Big Brother” effect which keeps firms in line with our billing guidelines.

I’m not going to elaborate about the incredible benchmarking available within CounselLink to help negotiate rates, or the fact that I have 100% of my outside counsel submitting invoices into CounselLink.

Instead, I want to share a process improvement that can only be done with the use of CounselLink.

For those who handle the financial responsibilities within the law department, I’m sure you’ll agree that accruals are a laborious task. My accounting department required monthly accruals. I fought back and said I didn’t have enough time or resources to submit monthly accruals, but I could submit quarterly accruals.

This, however, left a gap in reporting for the first two months of the quarter and a large spike in the third month of the quarter.

Our accruals include unapproved invoices in CounselLink and unbilled time through the end of the quarter, which requires feedback from the law firms. It took approximately three days and a team of paralegals, admins and myself to request, collect, consolidate, and submit the accruals. Even with this all-out effort, I was still late in submitting accruals more often than not. Not a good reflection on myself or the legal department.


Then along came the Accrual Module in CounselLink. I now handle the entire accrual process from request to submission on a monthly basis within a couple of hours.

The request goes out to over 50 law firms with a push of a button and includes over 300 matters. It has provided a more accurate monthly spend and reduced the spike at the end of each quarter. The accruals are all tracked within CounselLink for auditing purposes and submitted on time to accounting.

For those who are not familiar with the Accrual Module but are required to submit accruals, I highly recommend using this module. In addition to the improvement of the accrual process, it has helped to build partnerships with the billing teams from the law firms.

I found that since this partnership was formed, the overall billing experience has been very positive for both parties. A few lessons learned when beginning to use the Accrual Module:

  1. Send an email to the law firms, specifically, the CounselLink admins, with an explanation and instructions about the new process you are implementing.
  2. Make sure your law firms have someone with the Budget Contact role.
  3. If a matter is transferred to another firm to handle, make sure you remove the matter from the original firm.
  4. Don’t tell your boss how easy it is.

The Accrual Module has improved efficiency, accuracy, and communication for a more positive experience for all involved and those no longer involved (paralegals and admins).

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