Clocktimizer is fortunate to be working with innovative law firms all around the world. As part of our series of Customer Success Stories, we spoke to Ebrahim Kaka (Pricing Specialist) and Nurie Jappie (Legal Project Manager) at leading South African law firm, Webber Wentzel. Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, Webber Wentzel has over 150 years of experience, and a dedicated team known for their commitment to their clients.
Ebrahim and Nurie have both been part of a drive towards more data-driven operations in the service of the firm’s clients. They use Clocktimizer to track fee budgets with increased accuracy and to provide key insights into client matter financials. Most importantly, during the current global crisis, they have benefitted from the increased level of client service that Clocktimizer brings. The platform is now becoming instrumental in helping Webber Wentzel ensure that matters run on-budget and on-time. No matter how complex they are.
“During our trial [of Clocktimizer] I invited Partners to individual sessions to demonstrate the platform and what the analysis can show them about their matters. I remember very clearly one of those Partners looking at the data for a few minutes and simply saying “I’m sold, how much does it cost.”Ebrahim Kaka – Webber Wentzel
Looking for a solution
In a scenario familiar to many, much of Ebrahim and Nurie’s work used to be undertaken using Excel. “It involved a lot of manual mining of data that could take days to analyse,” said Ebrahim. Through a combination of clever Excel formulas and many hours spent manually assigning time codes, they were able to offer some insights, but never with the speed or accuracy that they wanted.
“From a matter management and budget tracking perspective, we were reliant on information we could extract from our practice management system, which was quite a process in itself. Matter analysis could take you a week because you pulled the reports with all the narratives and you had to sift through and identify & classify what happened. It took forever,” said Ebrahim.
Unsurprisingly, then, they were on the lookout for a product that could automate much of this analysis. Fortunately, they came across Clocktimizer.
Getting started with Clocktimizer
In Ebrahim’s words, “the stars aligned one day” when he read about Clocktimizer. The firm moved quickly from a demo to Clocktimizer’s free sandbox environment during which the platform was shown to a few partners. Following this, Webber Wentzel embarked on a formal RFP process in which they were able to compare Clocktimizer against competitor platforms and ensure that they had the best fit for the firm’s needs. “It was very important for us that the solution we were going with would tick various boxes within our firm, not just in the pricing team, Legal Services Centre or the BD team for example. We invited certain vendors to demo their systems for us, and through our business case analysis we invited different stakeholders to evaluate the products. Clocktimizer turned out to be the best solution for us,” expressed Ebrahim.
One of the key benefits of Clocktimizer for Webber Wentzel was the ability to unlock the potential in their data quickly and painlessly. “It was basically a seamless integration in terms of getting started and using Clocktimizer. We have always felt, and still feel, very supported by the Clocktimizer team,” says Ebrahim.
In any system roll-out, one of the most essential tasks is building enthusiasm for a product. Ebrahim and his project team developed several different use cases to create in-house champions of the Clocktimizer platform. They began by implementing Clocktimizer on a smaller scale at first to ensure it was tailored to the firm’s requirements and to confirm the data was well-structured. For Ebrahim, this meant a soft approach with partners.
“We made it clear to our partners that we didn’t want to change how they work. Webber Wentzel has been around for over 150 years for a reason and we didn’t want to break that winning formula. What we wanted to do is to help them do what they do, even better.” This led to an understanding of the importance of good narrative quality, which in turn leads to improved data outcomes.Ebrahim Kaka – Webber Wentzel
For Nurie, making the most of Clocktimizer’s data visualisation was key to their success.
“I have always found the visuals in Clocktimizer incredibly compelling. Clocktimizer’s visuals are very impressive from a client perspective when it comes to convincing our partners to use Clocktimizer.”Nurie Jappie – Webber Wentzel
Getting to grips with matters
Clocktimizer has really shone in meeting the complex expectations of some of Webber Wentzel’s clients. Most recently, Ebrahim used Clocktimizer activity groupings to track a complex class action for a client. By creating bespoke groupings and assigning activities to them, the firm was able to track the matter budget in great detail. As a result, they could prepare detailed, yet clear, progress reports. Nurie notes that Clocktimizer adds real value for their clients: increased transparency about matter budgets and progression has resulted in improved client satisfaction with the project management of their matters.
By enabling many complex analyses to be completed in a fraction of the time that they would have taken if conducted manually and tracking multiple key deliverables across numerous matters quickly, Clocktimizer has given their Legal Project Management (LPM) team a wider impact than before.
Finally, with increasingly cost-conscious clients, suffering under the economic implications of the pandemic, Webber Wentzel can be assured that they stay on budget. This has been particularly true for clients with retainer arrangements. “Our clients are delighted when they hear that we have a tool that easily enables us to keep them up to date on their legal spend,” says Ebrahim.