Law company Elevate is well-known for its legal process work, but it’s also a growing legal tech producer in its own right, and is now steadily rolling out its integrated ELM (enterprise legal management) platform. The latest module is managed dashboards, which provide detailed insights into legal spend data.
VP Product, Sharath Beedu, told Artificial Lawyer: ‘We released our core ELM platform in 2020 and have been releasing our modules on the new platform each quarter. We should be completing this journey early next year.’
As to the dashboards, (see images below), what they are doing with this is providing inhouse teams with customisable views into their activity and outside counsel spend. Beedu added that some law firms also use their ELM system.
Andy Ninh, Solutions Architect, explained that the system can collect data on a range of data, from diversity, showing for example, spend by gender, to showing spend summaries by total fees, by business unit, and by time period. The dashboards can also help to build budgets.
‘Managed dashboards is one part of this ELM platform, it’s part of our common data model approach,’ Beedu added.
‘People start off with automation in silos, then you move to a connected platform so that you have a seamless experience,’ he said.
Services and Software
Hand-in-hand with the ELM platform comes Elevate’s consulting services, which it provides in parallel with the review and legal managed services work it is already known for.
‘We see this as a whole product approach,’ Beedu explained. ‘It’s services and software. We do not just offer software and then run away.’
I.e. while some legal tech companies are becoming more like service providers rather than pure-play software providers, e.g. LawGeex, those in the legal services world are stepping up their tech offerings, whether this is homemade by a law company or ALSP as in Elevate’s case, via the partnerships we are seeing more of now with the Big Four, or with law firms which are increasingly building their own tech tools.
Related to this, Beedu also said that one of the challenges around the debate about ROI and legal tech is that it’s not a meaningful topic if lawyers don’t actually use the software. I.e. Company X brings in a new CLM or ELM system, but if they don’t get comfortable with using it and can learn how to get value from it, then it doesn’t get used. No use = no ROI calculation. Or simply the ROI is a negative value.
That is to say, it’s not that certain types of tech product cannot deliver a high ROI – they can – but without buy-in and an implementation that brings everyone along with the changes involved, then it’s all just an academic debate.
The idea is that with Elevate’s consulting input they can be sure the software is implemented. Moreover – and although Beedu didn’t highlight this – the more you study external spend and your own workflows, the more likely it is that you may end up engaging an ALSP or law company to help you with certain areas of work, as you can see where things can be improved in terms of pricing and efficiency.
This all goes back to the old adage: you can’t change what you don’t measure. I.e. without an ELM system (or one of the better CLM systems that have grown beyond contract management) then how do you get the data insights to create any kind of inhouse benchmarks? Without benchmarks and objective measures there can be no realistic change management strategy to improve things, as otherwise you are just making decisions in a fog.
This site then asked if there is significant client demand for ELM platforms like this – even if they are a good idea? Beedu concluded: ‘We did lots of interviews and research to understand what problems the clients wanted us to solve.’ So, in short: yes. The clients said they wanted something like this. And that’s good to hear.
As to the future growth of the platform itself, they’ve been migrating over legacy customers from their previous offerings, which were structured more as point solutions that they had built over the last five years, and they are also bringing aboard new customers. He added that they had between 30 and 50 clients now using their ELM platform.
The goal is clearly to keep expanding this and for Elevate to become recognised as not just a law company, but a provider of major tech solutions to the legal sector, especially around ELM.