"Apperio has given us leverage with our law firms to be able to be stricter about how much they’re going to charge us. We won’t now even take on a law firm if they’re not willing to be transparent via Apperio. It’s a prerequisite that we put in to our engagement letters."Keruschka Shunmugam Legal Operations Manager
Trainline is Europe’s leading train ticketing app.
The company’s legal team was already busy with the typical flow of high-growth operations in a technology business: contracts (particularly IT), compliance and legal review.
But having already established a leading position in the UK market, the business was globalising fast. Demand for legal services was scaling rapidly and this also meant hiring ever more law firms throughout the world to handle jurisdictional issues.
As a technology business, Trainline was very focused on the value of data across operations. Apperio was a natural choice to put the company’s data to work; to gain more clarity and transparency on the fees charged by different law firms in different jurisdictions and to demonstrate best value across the legal function.
Apperio’s legal spend tracking software was the first of several tools deployed to bring management insight and optimal performance to the legal team – both managing costs and ensuring that legal talent and resources are always deployed in the best way.
One year in, a particularly powerful decision was made: to open Apperio to the whole legal team. Instead of being a monitoring tool used only by heads of teams, lawyers themselves now get the insight to benchmark and manage their own budgets.
But deploying Apperio was not just a case of seeking best value – it had internal importance too. Trainline’s General Counsel and legal team were acutely aware that the legal function in most businesses is seen as a cost centre. They were keen to demonstrate leanness, to be visibly cost-effective and operationally efficient; especially during this key phase of the company’s growth.
In the years that Trainline has used Apperio, the system has enabled the flagging of plenty of discrepancies: double charging, retained services being charged separately etc.
Apperio has also benchmarked legal fees across multiple services, matters and jurisdictions, and this has even led to the termination of one consistently over-charging law firm.
But more importantly, it has allowed better decision-making. Sometimes a single major law firm with a presence in several jurisdictions will provide better value than local players. Or regularly occurring issues may mean that developing in-house expertise will create long-term benefit. This strategic insight is Apperio’s greatest contribution.
Giving legal teams the insight to become a strategic business partner
Apperio has built a reputation for creating transparency and trust in the legal relationship. But at Trainline, it is part of the wider application of data to operational excellence. The in-house team uses cost data not primarily as leverage, but to become a better delivery partner to the business.