Park University is a private college headquartered in Missouri, with satellite campuses in 21 states. System wide, Park University had an enrollment of 17,000 students, 40 internal business units….and a small legal department.
Without a system to track projects, the legal team often felt underwater, said Courtney Goddard, who served as Vice President and General Counsel.
“The only way we were reminded something had not been completed for an internal client is when they called and said ‘Where’s our stuff?’,” Goddard said. “We were always putting out fires.”
Each member of the legal team had a different system for managing intake and deadlines, Goddard said. She used a Word document of open matters; the executive assistant kept a spreadsheet.
“Matters were being forgotten about, and we were missing internal and external deadlines,” she said. “We had lots of dissatisfied internal customers.”
Goddard started scouting software products but found many were built for law firms: “We don’t track time, we don’t bill – that’s not what I needed.”
In the summer of 2017, she learned about Xakia: “I became aware there was a practice management tool – not a time tool or a billing tool, but a practice management tool specifically for legal departments.”
She subscribed, and said she found an immediate benefit as the team entered their matters: “We finally got a handle on how many matters each of us were working on – an instant assessment of the workload division. Finally, we could see if it was equitable, or if one person was doing 80 percent of the work.”
Goddard said as the team continued to use Xakia, the software brought clarity to workloads, performance, deadlines and even outside firm relationships. She could easily monitor how much time each individual spent on certain matters; she could ensure work was evenly divided; and she could scout law firm deadlines and budget issues.
Moreover, Goddard said, Xakia’s reporting features brought a new level of professionalism to her communication with Park University’s board of trustees.
“I used to literally have a Word document list of items – here are the 42 things I’m working on,” she said. “Now I get a report and I can tell the board x percent of our work is contracts, x percent is employment and x percent is student appeals. Xakia allows me to report to our board a division of work, letting them know our time investment. It’s a major improvement.”
“It’s cost-effective – we don’t have a huge budget for an expensive legal management tool,” Goddard said. “And it’s very user-friendly. It’s easy to use from a lawyer to an administrative assistant to a student intern. We can all use it. In a small department, our student intern has to be adding as much value as the GC.”
“We have so many internal clients – everybody from athletics to student life. We have to be able to simultaneously track the high volume of internal clients and matters,” Goddard said. “Xakia is valuable in the university setting for the sheer number of clients the university setting naturally brings – and for the volume of matters. You might get 10 new matters in a day; so many things are simultaneously happening. Xakia is a value-add: It makes it easy to input on the fly the volume of matters coming in.”