Articles

Susan Hackett on the Distinguishing Value of Align

  • Align makes in-house lawyers better business leaders in their companies.  I don’t see anything else on the market that helps in-house leaders become the vital partners they want to be with their business clients. 

  • It gives in-house lawyers back the one thing they can’t buy on the market but need most: time … time recouped from auditing law firm invoices and correcting mismanagement of matters, as well as time otherwise wasted “re-inventing” the wheel with each successive matter.

  • Align alleviates the need to increase head-count to get operational or regularly recurring work done.  

  • Relatedly, Align also allows corporate counsel to turn their “80-20” problem on its head: most departments find that 80% of their work only receives about 20% of their time and attention, and 20% of their work receives about 80% of their time. Department leaders know that they are under-resourcing and paying less attention to that which is the bulk of the client’s regular legal agenda and spend; they are spending too much time on one-off matters that should be disposed of more quickly and efficiently OR prevented. Align allows in-house leaders to use a system that will help them better focus their time and attention to what is important, not just what is urgent.

  • With Align critical decisions are made and a desired outcome and directions are established BEFORE work begins. We all say we want to front-end our attention to plotting the course of our work, but we rarely have the process in place that facilitates that happening. Align quickly creates front-end consensus on scope, process, pricing, appropriate fee and staffing structures, and more; it doesn’t get in the way of getting the work started, but rather assures that work started is done in the manner that will be most likely to drive success. Think: "Ready, aim, fire," with Align, rather than "fire, ready, aim."  

  • This product understands that collaborative work is the future: that no longer will lawyers work in individual, independent silos, divorced from the business issues, the team’s other players, and experiential knowledge they should be drawing from and contributing to.

  • With Align, every aspect of lawyer work and department operations is in one place – no patching together 20 different products, systems, and data sets. No separate systems for in-house and out-house work. No complex training. You can learn to use it and be up and running in a few hours.

  • The system is intelligent, learns from its own experience, and is intuitive for lawyers to use.  

  • You can continue to scale up the use of the product over time, so you won’t be buying into something that can’t grow or be adapted to your work; while you may start to use Align with only a smaller group on your team, you can expand its application at your pace and with your needs in mind.

  • The system seamlessly builds data and experiential knowledge that’s both relevant and true to actual work performed for your client, not work performed by thousands of people for other clients in non-analogous situations. It automatically provides the metrics you want to measure, capturing everything as the work is done without additional entry or report management.  

  • You can target your projects capture data that demonstrates to your management the value the department brings: to the company’s business and the acceleration of its success.

  • Bottom line: This is the first product I’ve seen (and I’ve seen pretty much all of them for the last 25 years) that’s truly created with the in-house department and its operational model and client mandates in mind.