From manually tracking their matters to a central online legal workspace

The City of Overland Park's legal department had previously tracked all of its legal matters manually – with paper lists and tick marks. Team members had no visibility into one another’s projects and it was challenging to track how much time was spent on specific tasks or areas.

The municipal government, The City of Overland Park, KS, now uses the Xakia in-house legal matter management system to track its workload and simplify its reporting.

Industry

Municipal Government

Key results
  • Deployed throughout the civil division
  • Visibility into projects across the legal department
  • Data-driven, automated reporting
  • Improved client communications and service
  • Operational improvements put in place based on data

“The ability to automate quarterly reports has reduced that time investment for compiling performance metrics from over a week to just one day.”

Tammy Fisher
Legal Support Administrator

The City of Overland Park

Situation

Overland Park, Kansas has a population of nearly 200,000. The largest suburb of Kansas City, the community ranks on the top ten list of Money magazine’s “Best Places to Live” in the United States.

Its municipal government, The City of Overland Park, employs more than 1,000 and provides a variety of services to residents, business owners, and visitors. The Legal Department supports all functions of the government, among them public works, law enforcement, economic development, and the fire department.

The civil division of the Legal Department comprises five lawyers and two administrators. The lawyers divide responsibilities for various functions. Deputy City Attorney Michael Koss, for example, is the liaison for IT, Human Resources, the City Clerk’s Office, and the City Manager’s Office. Another colleague handles the police department, fire department, and emergency management.

“There’s always a lot of work coming in from all of those different divisions,” Mr. Koss said. “We have a lot of different types of work coming into us.”

paper lists

Challenge

The City’s Legal Department previously tracked all of its matters manually – with paper lists and tick marks.

This approach was problematic for several reasons. By relying on paper lists and institutional memory, team members had no visibility into one another’s projects, and they lacked a failsafe for deadlines. It was challenging to track how much time was spent on specific tasks or areas.

Moreover, as a governmental entity, the City was responsible for a significant amount of reporting, including quarterly reports to the City Manager.

Legal reporting would take seven to eight days each quarter, said Tammy Fisher, legal support administrator. Ms. Fisher would have to collect the paper lists from each team member, then manually assemble the reports.

“Everything that our attorneys touch and requires any of their time is what we tried to capture,” said Tammy Fisher, legal support administrator. “It wasn’t working. We just ‘knew’ what we did.”

Approach

The City wanted a central repository where lawyers and administrators could track their work consistently, with visibility into projects across the Legal Department.

Additionally, given the Legal Department’s demanding reporting requirements, the team wanted a legal analytics software solution that could simplify and automate its deliverables.

The Legal Department chose a modern matter management software and implemented the software throughout the civil division.

“Now everything that comes into this office should be tracked,” said Ms. Fisher. “In the beginning, not everybody was using it. But everybody is using it now because otherwise [for our performance measures] we would go to them and say, ‘What are you doing?’


Xakia helped us focus on what has been the biggest burden, then try to make some improvements to make it less of a burden.

Michael Koss
Deputy City Attorney

Results

The legal matter management system gave the City’s Legal Department insight and metrics into its workload. The lawyers and administrators used this knowledge to put in place a number of operational improvements.

For example, after quantifying exactly how much time was spent on contracts and agreements, the team looked for new efficiencies. It updated contract templates and created a contract self-help tool for other government departments, so drafts would require less time for lawyer review.

“Xakia helped us focus on what has been the biggest burden, then try to make some improvements to make it less of a burden,” said Mr. Koss.

The ability to automate quarterly reports has reduced that time investment for compiling performance metrics from over a week to just one day, said Ms. Fisher.

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