Thompson Coburn LLP Achieves Savings and Substantially Improved Terms Across Multiple Back Office Service Areas

Opportunity: Based in St. Louis, Thompson Coburn is an AmLaw 200 firm with over 380 attorneys in five offices. In 2016, Thompson Coburn engaged Mattern & Associates, LLC (Mattern) to assist with three different service needs: traditional outsourcing and equipment, off-site records storage, and office supplies.

For traditional outsourcing, the Firm had been pleased with its current outsourcing provider, Novitex, for a number of years; however, the Firm wanted to investigate new market offerings and best practices, ensuring its outsourcing services provider was both an optimal fit for the Firm as well as a reliable partner moving into the future as the Firm’s needs evolved.

Lastly, while the Firm was successfully managing its office supplies service provider, there was no formal agreement in place between the two organizations. To that end, they sought to enter into an agreement with a provider that could not only provide quality supplies, but also customize their experience through an online platform with capabilities such as showing more cost-effective alternatives to end-users, customized ordering and billing, and auto-alerts for out-of-stock and back-ordered items.

Solution: The Firm knew it was taking on three disparate and important projects simultaneously. Thus, Firm leadership engaged Mattern to do a comprehensive review of all three areas and guide them through the complexities of the RFP process, award and contract negotiations.

Mattern performed a complete on-site assessment of their outsourced services and equipment at each of the five office locations. This included a review of the outsourcing service provider’s staffing levels, workflows, processes, and equipment. For off-site records, Mattern reviewed the Firm’s contracts with its off-site records providers, examined all its off-site records activities, and entered discussions with key staff to determine the Firm’s plans for records retention policies. It was discovered during this process that the Firm was owed approximately $73,000 in penalties as a result of incorrect invoicing from one of their current off-site providers.

Finally, Mattern analyzed the Firm’s office supplies. As they had no contract in place, Mattern reviewed the pricing the Firm was receiving from its current provider, determined which items could/should belong to a “core” list, as well as observed the overall management of office supplies.

Based on these evaluations and Mattern’s analysis of the Firm’s needs and incorporating Mattern’s industry knowledge, benchmarks, and expertise in law firm back and middle office operations, Mattern made several recommendations for their consideration, including what services the Firm should be receiving and at what cost per the consultancy’s benchmarks. The Firm and Mattern collaborated to create a uniquely tailored Request for Proposal for each area, focusing on the strategic areas of concern the Firm set forth at the project’s outset.

Results:

Outsourced Services: The RFP process yielded several viable respondents, including the incumbent, Novitex, in addition to four new entrants. After careful review, the Firm elected to retain its current service provider; however, the newly negotiated arrangement included some significant changes to the operations, contract, and price of the agreement. In particular, the Firm gained the following:

  • Workflow efficiencies which allowed for overall staff reduction of 11%, while maintaining key service levels in several offices.
  • Additional service coverage in the Firm’s Chicago office.
  • Elimination of unnecessary weekend hours in the Firm’s main office.
  • Significantly improved terms and conditions, including elimination of non-solicitation and severance clauses as well as effectual untrained staff and staff underage credits.
  • Penalty-based service level agreements.
  • Various financial incentives.

Overall, due to the terms achieved in the new arrangement, the Firm realized a savings of 26% over its current annual spend in the first year.

Off-site Records:

The RFP process yielded several viable respondents, including the incumbents and two new entrants. After deliberation, the Firm opted to consolidate its off-site records needs under a new, single provider Access Group except in one office where existing storage will remain with the incumbent. As part of the Firm’s contract with its new service provider, they received the following terms:

  • Fixed costs for first three years of the agreement – and limited increases year over year thereafter.
  • Permanent withdrawal and destruction allotments in several years of the agreement.
  • Permanent withdrawal charges decrease by 20% year over year between years 6-10.
  • Penalty-based service level agreements.
  • All termination fees paid. • Storage rates fixed for 10 years.
  • Services rates fixed for first five years, then a one-time increase of 10%. Services rates fixed thereafter for the remaining five years.
  • No permanent withdrawal fees.

Overall, between incentives and costs reductions, the Firm saved 5.5% over its current costs. In addition, they substantially reduced permanent withdrawal fees by 36% over its current service provider.

Office Supplies:

Mattern conducted an RFP process which included the incumbent and four new entrants. The Firm elected to remain with the incumbent service provider, engaged under a formalized agreement with favorable terms and conditions to handle all of its office supplies nationwide for a five-year contract, including:

  • Fixed pricing for one year on all core items. Thereafter, a maximum increase of 3% year over year on such items.
  • Very competitive discounts off list price for furniture, computer-related supplies and hardware, facility and janitorial supplies, etc. No minimum ordersize requirements.
  • Spend incremental rebates.
  • Documented service levels for delivery and timely reporting

Overall Results

Through the Mattern process and across all three projects, the Firm saved a total of 22% over its current spend for all three areas in addition to the significantly improved, firm-friendly contract terms and service levels. Moreover, Mattern was retained by the Firm to oversee successful implementations for all three projects, the consolidation of the off-site records, as well as the ongoing monitoring of their contracts for the term of the agreements.

Client Comment: “Mattern provides tremendous value to the process. The team knows the questions to ask, where to push on negotiable items, and what other vendors and firms have negotiated. Mattern simply knows what is happening in these areas today. This all provides great leverage to help ensure we get the best agreement and service possible from the vendors. Seeing the process all the way through, and then providing support on the backend to help ensure we are getting the service we agreed to, in the time frames established, for the price negotiated helps to make the process complete. The entire process saved me and my team a tremendous amount of time, and I know without a doubt we got a much better agreement and value than had we done the process ourselves.” -Steve Wingert, Director of Administration, Thompson Coburn, LLP

Service Provider Comment: “We are pleased that the Thompson Coburn leadership decided to extend and expand its contract and that through Novitex, Exela Technologies can reach top-tier legal clients and introduce additional enterprise information management (EIM) solutions. These include the intelligent EIM platform, BoxOffice coupled with the automated court case searching tool, CourtQ alongside machine-learning and natural language processing solutions such as Jet, that strengthens the value that Novitex is already delivering. We compliment Matten on a well-run, unbiased Request for Proposal (RFP) process and look forward to working with them in the future.” -Ron Cogburn, Chief Executive Officer, Exela Technologies, formerly Novitex

Click here to view the complete 2018 Summer Mattern Matters Newsletter.

2018-06-19T14:50:34+00:00