In 2013, Kia Motors set off a technology firestorm. The General Counsel, Casey Flaherty, conducted an audit of the technology skills of its outside counsel, and the results were shocking. None of the company’s outside counsel passed rudimentary technology tests, and presumably, if firms weren’t using basic technology for mundane non-legal tasks, they were likely charging too much.
This was an opening salvo in the technology challenges facing the legal community, and the professional duties for lawyers and GCs have also since grown to require maintaining competence with technology to adequately protect their clients’ interests. GCs have an ethical duty to protect and zealously advocate their client’s interests, and especially in the context of litigation. Traditionally, GCs would monitor pending litigation handled by outside counsel with quarterly litigation reports, but with advances in legal technology, reporting on those cases can happen in real time, and GCs need to be in the know.
Beyond just GCs, access to accurate and up-to-date litigation reports can also provide actionable business intelligence to other C-Suite executives. For instance, CEOs can use litigation reports to learn about new lawsuits affecting their companies before the information is reported widely to the public, and CFOs can keep their fingers on the pulse of the company’s financial health, by preparing for how much a case might affect the bottom line. With UniCourt’s application, CEOs and CFOs can now easily obtain the legal data they need.
Protecting Your Company’s Interests through Better Communication
UniCourt’s cloud-based SaaS platform is equipped with features that help corporate executives remain informed, connected, and collaborative. The system offers an intuitive user interface that allows corporate executives to maintain open avenues of communication with each other and outside counsel, while keeping apprised of important developments in impactful litigation. Rather than waiting for a likely outdated outside counsel report, GCs can now receive real-time notifications of docket entries in pending cases, and proactively protect their companies when decisions need to be made.
GCs can also share those important updates with the CEO or CFO through a simple and easy to use folder sharing function, and can even automate the sharing for important bet the farm litigation. UniCourt’s sophisticated case tracking system also allows GCs to directly communicate with outside counsel, which helps improve the flow of information and documents, and provides opportunities to work more collaboratively to obtain improved outcomes.
It is critical for all executives to understand how litigation that is highly publicized will impact their company, because access to regular litigation reports can help GCs, CEOs, CFOs, and other executives prepare and refine their remarks on important developments before the information reaches the general public. Keeping your messaging consistent through sharing common knowledge about the company’s legal involvement is key to protecting one of the company’s most valuable assets: its reputation.
Anticipating and Navigating Litigation
In addition to tracking and managing pending litigation, the UniCourt system also offers an advanced search feature that enables users to search for cases by party name, attorney or law firm name, or type of case. UniCourt’s platform currently contains data for more than thirty-five million federal and state cases. The system aggregates and organizes this data so that users can set alerts and track the latest developments in lawsuits.
Corporate executives can use this search feature to stay up to date on litigation trends in their industries and track claims made against their competitors, keeping them aware of potential new claims against their clients. Not only will this allow them to work together to prepare themselves for legal claims or litigation that might be forthcoming, but it can also help them develop a strategy to navigate public or media attention relating to the litigation. This can help corporate executives inoculate potential bad press, rehabilitate the company’s reputation, and work together to develop a strategy to move forward.
With the benefit of UniCourt’s synthesized, integrated system, GCs and C-Suite executives alike can equip and empower themselves with knowledge of the legal claims impacting their companies, developing valuable and actionable business intelligence. By remaining constantly informed and aware of pending and upcoming litigation, executives can leverage legal data to help fulfill their ethical and fiduciary duties to the companies they lead.