An international labor- and employment-law firm with attorneys in Missouri has launched a new technology platform that provides clients with on-demand access to data, analytics and legal advice.
On May 9, Littler launched its new Littler onDemand platform. St. Louis attorney Kim Yates, who is overseeing the platform as program director, said it is a web-based application that clients can download and use.
Each individual using the platform has his or her own credentials. She said clients also have access to a mobile application.
Through the platform, clients can submit labor and employment questions to attorneys. A user submitting a question can immediately see prior queries, and whether or not the question already has been answered by a Littler attorney.
“That may be the end of that inquiry,” Yates said.
If the matter has not been addressed already, the inquiry will be forwarded to a team of Littler attorneys who exclusively work on-call for the platform. They will either respond directly to the inquiry or engage with other experts within the firm on the issue.
In addition to access to advice, the platform will provide companies with access to other key information, Yates said.
“Through the application, we track a lot of information that pertains to the inquiries, which enables us to provide data analytics, dashboards and other information that allows them to understand what’s happening to their organization,” she said.
Yates said the program helps to provide in-house legal counsel with an expansive view of the needs of their organizations.
For companies with in-house counsel located in multiple offices across the United States, Yates said Littler onDemand offers more visibility of the types of advice given to different attorneys within an organization.
“It’s not feasible for an in-house employment lawyer to necessarily know the advice that was given to a division on the East Coast or West Coast,” Yates said. “This is a way for us to ensure that the advice the organization receives is consistent.”
She said the application combines the expertise of the firm in the areas of labor and employment law with technology.
“All of the knowledge of our firm is available through our Littler onDemand resources,” she said.
Response to client demand
Littler shareholder Scott Forman, who also created the firm’s Littler CaseSmart platform, developed the application, Yates said.
Yates said the idea came from collaborating with clients and seeing their needs.
“What we’re trying to accomplish is to make sure that we’re meeting the needs of our clients,” she said. “We knew and have heard from them that this was an area they wanted to see us expand. We have a strong reputation for that, and clients wanted us to devise solutions in this space.”
Jen Klein, a spokeswoman for the firm, noted that in the firm’s 2019 Employer Survey, 64 percent of general counsel and in-house attorneys said they expect their legal service providers to offer technology-driven tools and platforms.
“This is in response to client demand,” she said.
In addition to the need for access through technology, Littler also is sensitive to the needs of its clients — whether they be in-house counsel or human resources departments in companies — in terms of being budget-conscious.
In circumstances where companies may not have the extra resources to hire in-house labor and employment attorneys, the application can help, Yates said. The technology also enables companies to cut down on redundancy, especially in terms of asking the same legal questions over and over.
“It’s the elimination of that duplication,” Yates said. “The idea [is] that they can benefit from a knowledge bank of information that’s unique to them and allows them to leverage it repeatedly.”
Efficiency is “the hallmark of what we are here to accomplish,” she added.
“It’s a team of attorneys very skilled in labor and employment whose objective is to provide practical advice,” she said. “We’re really looking to be effective and efficient . . . all of which contributes to reducing their cost in the end.”
Attorneys on call
Beyond what the application offers to clients, it also is bringing a new attorney classification for lawyers within the firm: shift attorneys.
Yates said three attorneys now work exclusively as Littler onDemand counsel, but the team is planning to expand to five in the coming weeks.
“They are assigned to work set shifts,” Yates said. “It’s our way for ensuring we have coverage from 8 to 5, coast to coast. Clients who submit tickets to the application or call or email, they know they’re going to connect with an attorney.”
Yates said attorneys working for Littler onDemand also work from home.
“It’s very different from a traditional law firm in that traditional law firms typically have all kinds of hours and targets,” she said. “The primary target of these attorneys is to be available for their shift.”