Legal Metrics for Legal Departments | Metrics for In-house Counsel

Legal metrics are a critical when legal departments seek more efficiency from outside counsel as both parties need to quantitatively measure the effectiveness of that partnership.

Legal Metrics: Additional Insights

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As legal departments seek more efficiency from outside counsel, both parties need to quantitatively measure the effectiveness of that partnership. Legal metrics are a critical aspect of this process. More and more, legal departments are being asked to join other corporate divisions in assessing performance in an objective, tangible - and quantified way. An effective, insightful way to do this is to create metrics (sometimes integrated into comprehensive “scorecards”) to translate goals into measurable units showing progress and improvement.

To make knowledge work fully productive requires many things [Frederick Winslow] Taylor did not concern himself with. It requires objectives and goals. It requires priorities and measurements. It requires systematic abandonment of the tasks that are no longer produce and of the services that are no longer needed.
— Peter F. Drucker, Leading 20th Century Management Thinker

Legal metrics - definitions:

Metrics compare against pre-defined expectations or goals, and compare corresponding data points to identify outliers. This is helpful in understanding what causes differences, where often many insights can be gained. The proper use of metrics can be an extremely powerful way to evaluate and manage performance. Legal departments who use quantifiable performance management tools and engrain this approach into their operations can yield great long-term results. 

Legal metrics - establishing:

The establishment of legal metrics is often related to legal benchmarking. We begin high-impact legal benchmarking engagements by looking at the situation of our clients to determine the metrics that will best explain where opportunities for improvement lie. We then select the appropriate companies, both within and external to our clients’ respective industries, to benchmark. These metrics yield a comprehensive set of data that we distill to formulate key insights regarding the “best practices” that our clients can adapt for use in their corporate legal departments.

Sources of data are often from places like:

  • matter management systems
  • e-billing systems
  • monthly reports on the completion time of matters
  • reports from accounting and finance departments concerning external fees and expenses incurred from matters
  • budget reports for matters
  • internal evaluations on outside counsel performance
  • relevant information from outside counsel

Legal Metrics: Argopoint Approach

Comparing legal benchmarking data and situations across companies and industries can seem impossible without the proper expertise. We are skilled at devising innovative metrics to enable cross-company comparisons that “tell a story”, allowing us to isolate the most important issues and best improvement opportunities for our clients.

Read more on the value of legal metrics : “Legal Cents: Now’s the Time to Start Benchmarking”, Wisconsin Law Journal.