Client Needs, Client Partnership, and COVID-19

Ballard Spahr LLP
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Ballard Spahr LLP

[aurthor: Sarah Happy, Emilia Levisay]

Clients look to their legal counsel for guidance and advice. The best attorneys track developments, identify patterns, and start conversations with clients before their clients know they need advice. This is the foundation for a long-lasting partnership.

With this goal in mind, we developed the Stimulus Enforcement Tracker in partnership with Terry Grugan, a Partner-Elect in our White Collar Defense/Internal Investigations Group. Terry knew that fraud would likely result from the passage of the CARES Act and anticipated that his clients would need help navigating enforcement actions filed by government agencies. When the government began distributing CARES Act funds, Terry and his team started to collect information relating to instances of fraud and resulting government enforcement actions in a simple spreadsheet, which ultimately became difficult to navigate. Terry asked our team for assistance in analyzing and presenting the data in a user-friendly way. Relying on the experience we gained in building the Federal and State COVID-19 Legislation Trackers and the custom client reports we designed for use in our Ballard360 technology, we developed the Stimulus Enforcement Tracker.

This tool enables us to closely monitor government enforcements, perform predictive analytics, and stay in front of trends. Armed with real-time information, our legal teams have proactive conversations with their clients to help them make sense of the current legal landscape and prepare for possible litigation that could affect them. The flexibility of the Ballard360 platform allows us to shift the focus of our efforts over time as new legislation develops and priorities shift.

With the development of the trackers, we have a tremendous amount of flexibility in creating other customized dashboards for our clients that focus on desired geographic locations, industries of interest, laws and regulations, and related topics. This option, which allows our clients to focus on the information that is most critical to their business needs and receive customized analysis and strategic advice, has been a game changer.

Clients tell us loud and clear that they want their outside counsel to act as strategic partners, not cost centers. Since we developed the tracker technology, we have seen a shift in the way we interact with our clients. While data and technology drive the tools, our knowledge of our clients’ businesses and our longstanding partnerships make the tools successful. Our clients’ business needs influence the development of the technology, which empowers us to be their true business partners and offer the strategic guidance they require. We seek regular client input to make sure we are headed in the right direction and can change course quickly if we are not. During the pandemic, we have had to rely even more heavily on technology, and we anticipate that tools like those we are developing will be more important in the coming months and years.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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