As Cael Project Product Manager, one of the most fascinating and rewarding aspects of my role is hearing how the application plays a pivotal part in the way a law firm’s client perceives the firm’s management of their matters, and the impact of Cael on the way in which the firm handles matters for its clients.

One of our law firm customers shared with us a recent example of such an impact. Their predicament was that one of their substantial clients, who had supplied many matters for the firm to act on, became increasingly frustrated with the errors and slow progress being made on a particular complex matter. The effort was marred by consistent budget overruns by as much as 70% of plan, which led to significant write-downs and write-offs for the firm. The firm’s existing process for managing the matter was prone to errors, and a lack of communication regarding status and progress only exacerbated the problem. Eventually, the client directed the firm to cease all work on the matter until a new engagement agreement was put in place.

Recognizing the crisis, the firm embarked on an aggressive internal process change in order to turn things around. The matter team leadership brought in their Legal Project Management team, who in turn employed Cael Project to assist in monitoring the matter. The matter was re-planned in Cael Project, and a new kick-off meeting for the matter was initiated, where global team members received individual logins to the system and learned about Cael’s automated alerting system. Additionally, the matter leadership decided to track all matters for this client in Cael Project, comprising a portfolio of over 100 matters per year. This initiative was performed proactively, without requiring involvement or investment from the client.

The turnaround was startling. Write-offs on the initial matter (which precipitated the crisis) were completely eliminated. The matter finished within budget. Using LPM, assisted by Cael Project, resulted in a reduction of write-offs in the portfolio of matters by 80% over the previous year’s performance. The client came to the firm and requested that the entire portfolio of matters be managed under a fixed fee arrangement. Because of the LPM work and Cael Project, the firm was able to assess the likely effort and spend required, and thus, quote an intelligent and realistic fee for the work, with minimal guesswork.

The client was thrilled upon being informed of the new methodology. As a result, the law firm won the business and for the following year, will manage all of the matters for the client in Cael Project–a seven-figure portfolio.

This anecdote illustrates that end-customers, and internal stakeholders, actually want the same thing: reliability, predictability, and transparency. Addressing an acute problem experienced by a customer can be the catalyst for forcing changes downstream. Having tools and processes which enforce a discipline, and alerts early on when matter performance is not following plan, benefits not only the end client in receiving quality and reliable work, but also the law firm in minimizing its revenue risk, and maintaining strong client loyalty.

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