Harsco Corporation is a diversified, worldwide company serving industries fundamental to global economic progress and infrastructure development. Harsco operates in close to 40 countries and employs approximately 11,000 people worldwide. In 2007, Harsco selected Thomson Reuters Legal Tracker (formerly Serengeti Tracker) to manage their legal invoicing processes.
While implementing Legal Tracker certainly helped the invoicing process, there were still many non-LEDES invoices and paper bills coming in. In 2011, Beth Foland, Senior Litigation & Claims Analyst at Harsco, was given the reigns of the Legal Tracker system and took the initiative to improve the company’s use of it.
Her initial goal was to get all of Harsco’s law firms submitting electronic invoices through Legal Tracker. Through her efforts, Harsco’s legal department was able to achieve this goal rather quickly. However, Ms. Foland understood that there was a lot more that her department could be doing with Legal Tracker and that the system needed to be refreshed to take advantage of all of its functionality. She first attended a Legal Tracker Coordinator Boot Camp hosted by Legal Tracker Professional Services in the fall of 2012 to fully understand the capabilities of Tracker.
“The Boot Camp was great. It really took things up another level and allowed me to network with other users that were using the system well,” says Ms. Foland.
Ms. Foland’s investigation of the potential of Legal Tracker coincided with an initiative by her General Counsel to decrease outside legal spend for Harsco’s legal department. This led to Harsco talking to Legal Tracker Professional Services to integrate best practices and speed up the transformation of the system.
Two Legal Tracker consultants spent a week on-site at Harsco. Known as a GC Challenge, they assessed Harsco’s usage of the system, gained an understanding of where the legal department wanted to be, and made recommendations on how to achieve their goals. One of the consultants then continued on for several more weeks to help implement the recommended changes with a Legal Tracker Optimization.
The legal department’s goals for this project included creating best-practice billing guidelines and strictly enforcing them, tracking all global outside legal spending accurately, getting budgets from their law firms on all matters, cleaning up the data and users in Tracker, and streamlining the invoice-approval and matter-creation processes.
Before the Legal Tracker Optimization, Ms. Foland says, “It was a bit of a free-for-all. We would hire whomever we wanted at whatever rate and without budgets.” Often invoices would be approved without consulting billing guidelines, and there was no clear picture of the overall spending for particular matters or for the legal department as a whole.
Now Harsco’s matter creation is strictly controlled and no matters can be created or billed to without an approved budget. “We’re now enforcing billing guidelines and making sure timekeeper rates are approved beforehand, so we are seeing savings already,” says Ms. Foland. Invoice approval roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, and Harsco can now easily run reports showing all of their legal spend and how it compares to their budget.
“The Legal Tracker consultant’s experience of doing these types of projects with many other Fortune 500 companies carried a lot of weight within the legal department and helped push the project forward quickly,” says Ms. Foland. “He was huge for getting this project done.”
Now that all the new processes are set up, Ms. Foland has reduced her Legal Tracker workload tremendously, getting out of the manual day-to-day work in Tracker, and is refocused on her regular Senior Litigation & Claims Analyst responsibilities. She’s also helping build out the Legal Department Operations team, building a document repository, and looking to automate Harsco’s AP processes.
“When I went to the Legal Tracker Summit last year, I felt we had to get to the advanced state of the presenters I saw. I found it really inspirational. Now I feel like I’m one of those people!”
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