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Momentum: Aderant to launch law firm benchmarking offering

Aderant’s Virtual Momentum 2021 conference concluded at the end of the last week, with key announcements including the imminent launch of a data intelligence offering that will enable law firm clients to benchmark their performance against one another.

The entirely online conference is said to have set an attendance record at 1300 attendees and 60+ sessions over three days, although clients will in many cases be relieved to hear that next year the conference will be held in-person in Austin, Texas at the Hilton Austin on May 16-19.

Notable themes included the cloud (Aderant’s pipeline has seen a radical shift to its AWS hosted offering Sierra), infrastructure and application security, outside counsel guidelines (OCG) compliance, and data intelligence.

In the latter camp, Aderant ran a session to informally unveil its new offering, which we’re told will bring greater performance measurement and benchmarking to the law firm billing process.

While there are benchmarking products on the market to help outside counsel select their law firms, Aderant plans to leverage the data within Expert to create law firm intelligence with regard to how they compare against their peers, including how their rates compare.

Writing ahead of the conference Trey Ruello, director of data services at Aderant said: “Corporate clients often curate detailed insights from data they regularly collect about their outside counsel firms. Aderant’s concept of “data intelligence” revolves around providing law firms better visibility into similar metrics to even out this information asymmetry. Helping law firms leverage the power of data for their own benefit provides them with a strategic edge. It also enables informed, data-driven dialogues and negotiations with their clients, where now both sides leverage data to drive discussions.” We’ll get you more on that shortly.

Otherwise much of the conference was dominated by the topic of the cloud, and speaking to Legal IT Insider, executive vice president Chris Cartrett said: “Before the pandemic set in, we had started offering Expert in the cloud, which is called Sierra. At that time 10-15% of our pipeline was cloud but now it’s 50/50, and that is a seismic shift.”

While Sierra is not a ‘true cloud’ offering, it enables law firms, who still struggle enormously with moving their core systems to the cloud, to ‘lift and shift’ Aderant into a private instance of AWS. The environment is hosted and managed by Aderant, which for many large law firms right now means they get the benefit and security of cloud hosting, without the multiple nightmares of moving their central nervous system to a public cloud.

Cartrett said: “Firms know they have the most secure set up and us being able to manage it for them is huge.”

When it comes to outside counsel guidelines, it is interesting to note that Aderant, which acquired Bellefield Systems in 2019 for its iTimekeep and OCG Live applications, is working on embedding the OCG guidelines through the billing workflow. Cartrett said that while OCG Live has been available within the Aderant ecosystem, “the new thing we’re working on is the next level of OCG – more automation in managing those guidelines throughout the process and through ebilling, so it educates the application.” In a final shout out, Davis, Graham & Stubbs received the 2021 Innovator of the Year award as the first firm to go live on Aderant Expert in a fully remote environment in March 2020, just two weeks after locking down for the pandemic.

Roll on Texas.