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How Legal Decoder Is Used - Argonne National Laboratory

Argonne National Laboratory is a non-profit, research laboratory operated by University of Chicago for the United States Department of Energy (DOE). Argonne’s mission is to develop and discover innovations in energy. An organization of Argonne’s scale and complexity requires the support of outside counsel. As a quasi-government entity, Argonne must be mindful of the public’s fiscal interest in executing its mission. Argonne’s business ethos is to consciously control expenses and the legal department is no exception. Reviewing outside counsel bills before approving them for accounts payable is a painstaking task for any legal department. Being a part of the DOE also requires compliance with federal regulations such as the Prompt Payment Act. Argonne needed to properly review bills and gain insights into their legal spend data while maintaining compliance so it turned to Legal Decoder’s technology for help.

Argonne’s main goals for using Legal Decoder’s technology were to identify bad billing practices, better predict legal spend and budgets, and drive efficiencies in workflow processes. Legal Decoder’s Compliance Engine, which uses natural language processing (NLP), analyzed line items for compliance with billing guidelines and issues with efficiency, staffing, and billing hygiene. The Compliance Engine aggregated the results to identify which invoices should be paid and which require further review. As a result, Argonne has seen its outside counsel improve billing practices and lower costs.

Argonne now compares firm versus firm and timekeeper versus timekeeper performing the same task at a granular level to assign work to the right firm. Argonne did not know how long or how much a task such as filing an application cost but is now able to compare between firms using Legal Decoder’s technology. For example, Firm A took 30 hours on average at $X to perform a filing, Firm B took 13 hours at $Y, and Firm C took 20 hours at $Z when data was analyzed. This information is powerful when pricing out work and predicting costs or budgets.

Since using Legal Decoder, Argonne has driven efficiencies and cost savings by making sure that work is correctly assigned, managed and completed. For FY16, Legal Decoder's Compliance Engine surfaced 16% in unrealized savings across all matters and Argonne is using this information to better control and manage costs. Argonne also has insights into areas where outside counsel is strong when it comes to staffing mix and workflow efficiencies. Using this newly discovered information has given Argonne an improved awareness of its outside counsel effectiveness.

If you think Legal Decoder can help you with your legal spend analysis, please email us and we will contact you shortly after.