Who knows better how to get rid of paper than a waste-management company?
And yet, two years ago, the small law department at Milwaukee-based Onyx Waste Services Inc. was in danger of drowning under a slurry of law firm invoices. It wasn't just the amount of paper coming in; an outmoded practice of hand-delivered, hand-approved bills for legal services was crippling the company's entire invoicing system.
"It was a very flat program for what we needed--not very utile," Seem says.
Examining the software options in conjunction with accounting, Seem realized her department needed not just an invoicing solution, but one that would let the Onyx attorneys create files for each issue at its inception, add outside counsel as required, keep notes on steps taken as cases progressed, and then get the bills quickly into the accounting pipeline.
Seem says standardizing the process and cutting duplication of effort has allowed Onyx to ensure a two-month turnaround of all its legal invoices.
"Our outside counsel are as happy about that as we are," she says.
Heindl says those changes are entirely possible. But whether they come to pass or not, Onyx's custom-built invoice-handling and matter-management program constructed out of programs already bought, paid for and installed on desktops by tech support already on the payroll--has already more than met the expectations Seem had when she and Heindl first put their heads together two years ago. And she has no doubt what her work life would be like if the pair hadn't come up with a solution to Onyx's legal invoice bottleneck.
"I'd be tearing my hair out right now," she says.