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Oracle formally launches global legal PMS

Today (15 April) Oracle formally launches its global legal practice management system alongside new implementation partner Frontera Consulting, which has spent the last eight months configuring the ERP to ensure it handles all of the critical requirements of a law firm.

For those of you who have followed Oracle’s recent journey into the legal sector, this is a re-launch, after Oracle first came to market with PwC in 2019 on what is referred to internally as a ‘soft launch.’

Legal ERPs live and die by their ability to handle law firm billing, including alternative fee arrangements and rate exceptions. Leading the work for Oracle and Frontera is ex-Fulcrum/Thomson Reuters Elite/Intapp VP Jake Laliberte, who told Legal IT Insider: “We spent eight months configuring the solution to provide functionality to streamline the billing process; enhancing client account reporting, delivering dashboards and key metrics specific to legal, and making sure it handles all critical requirements of a law firm. We also configured the core billing solution to handle every kind of alternate fee arrangement and rate exceptions, thus eliminating the need to use RecVue.”

RecVue was used to take care of the likes of alternative fee arrangements, although Laliberte says: “When we dove into the fee arrangements and functionality, everything we needed was in the application. We didn’t have to customise one piece of technology.

“Everything that has been done is now leverages core Oracle functionality and Oracle-recommended design for reporting, dashboards, workflows, and extensions.”

Laliberte adds: “ERP typically builds a layer to help with all the functionality, but we have baked it into Oracle: there is no layer. All the billing functionality leverages core Oracle. That’s really important. The others can’t upgrade every three months but because ours is all baked in it’s easy to transition or to migrate – it’s a totally different approach.”

We’ve yet to see a demo: after that we’ll report back in full. But we’re told that much of the work in the past eight months has focused on fee-earner billing, and creating a user interface that allows fee-earners to do their own reviews in real time and create dashboards for them to easily keep on top of billing.

Interestingly, the GPMS does not include time recording or risk, where it will integrate with best of breed providers such as Intapp and Elegrity.

Laliberte says that the Frontera system could be acquired by firms as small as 75 fee-earners, with an ambition to install it within four months. Frontera is already speaking to a firm of around 125 fee-earners.

This is something that could not have been achieved by PwC from a costs perspective, although we’re told that PwC remains a long-term Oracle partner and may be involved in any large law ERP implementations.

It is worth noting that Kemp Little was the only firm to sign up to the inaugural system: the future of that project is uncertain given that Kemp Little has been acquired by Deloitte.

The legal sector is much in need of new competition in the largely lack lustre practice management sector. Appetites towards the cloud for PMS are (slowly) shifting, and Oracle has the advantage that it works with some of the world’s biggest banks.

The success of the new offering will inevitably turn on the detail and on Oracle and Frontera’s commitment to longevity. Law firms will want to be assured that they are in it for the long haul.

Join Oracle’s global practice management solution launch party at 6pm BST today by clicking here

Caroline Hill will be speaking with Jake Laliberte and Oracle’s master principal solutions consultant Andy King about the new system.