Benjamin Franklin said two things in life are certain: death and taxes. Given the opportunity, many business owners might add “outrageous legal bills” to the quote. Yes, jaw-dropping invoices from outside law firms are so commonplace that they’re basically considered inevitable — but not if Sterling Analytics has its way.
A full service consulting and advisory firm, Sterling Analytics not only helped originate the legal-audit field but in a few short years has grown into an industry giant, poring over more than a billion dollars of legal spend annually. Consider that clients typically save up to 20 percent in the first month alone and the firm’s appeal becomes immediately apparent.
“We’re all about transparency and accountability,” explains Marci Waterman, Esq, Managing Director of Sterling Analytics. “Outside legal counsel is one of the biggest costs a business incurs. We have the expertise to come in, review a company’s legal expenses, red-flag excessive billing practices, and establish billing guidelines that are agreed to by outside counsel. Law firms wind up getting paid quicker and our clients enjoy significant savings. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”
According to Waterman, billing audits performed by Sterling Analytics routinely discover frequent and sizable patterns of improper charges from outside counsel. Many costly billing practices are surprisingly mundane, however, such as charging clients for firm overhead or billing for time spent creating bills. “Obviously it all adds up,” she points out, “especially when your organization is accustomed to $5 million or more a year in outside legal expenses.”
How does Sterling Analytics accomplish its cost-cutting goals? For starters, the firm is headed by an impressive roster of top legal minds, including Waterman herself, who has over 20 years of legal experience that includes serving as a New York City prosecutor. “We speak the same language as the attorneys we’re auditing and know the business inside and out,” she says. “But that’s only half the story. The real advantage is our depth of talent.”
According to Waterman, with so many attorneys on staff, Sterling Analytics is able to pair their professionals with any given practice area, providing unparalleled expertise in identifying inappropriate billing. It also means the firm can shed light on why a particular expense is justified. “The outside attorneys respect us and quickly see that we are not the enemy at the gate so much as the fair-practices gatekeeper,” she explains. “We’re here to say that the days of inexcusable billing practices are over. Charge your time fairly and everyone benefits.”
Unlike cookie-cutter auditors tied to a particular software company, Sterling Analytics is also able to adapt to any e-billing system already in place at a client and provide important insight — something not possible with software alone. “There’s nothing like the subjective human eye,” Waterman observes. “We make determinations based on real world experience and unrivaled knowledge of the legal profession.”
Not surprisingly given the savings at stake, Sterling Analytics’ client list reads like a who’s who of nationally-recognized brands, including Chubb, Hertz, Groupon, Fidelity Financial, American Eagle Outfitters, and Citizens Bank. However, as word spreads of Sterling Analytics and its billing audit revolution, a growing number of lesser-known businesses are also coming on board for help in restructuring billing arrangements with outside counsel.
“Regardless of your industry or the size of your organization,” concludes Waterman, “if you’re looking to save money you start with your legal expenses. It’s the easiest place to make cuts — especially with professionals on your side whose sole mission is flagging excessive legal spend.”
Based in New York with a Canadian subsidiary, Sterling Analytics possesses international capabilities. To learn more, visit sterlinganalytics.com or call 1-800-325-0460.