Legal success metrics: Demonstrating the effectiveness of your law department with metrics that make the case
Corporate law departments that are considering utilizing metrics to gauge their performance, should choose those that can demonstrate the department’s effectiveness
About 90% of corporate law departments are collecting metrics to measure their team’s performance — up from 75% eight years ago, according to annual research the Thomson Reuters Institute conducts with about 2,000 corporate general counsel. These metrics are crucial in showing the importance and contributions of the legal function to the overall business, but too often, these metrics don’t go beyond measuring the department’s legal spend.
And while that’s important, law department leaders have other important goals that can’t be measured by looking at legal spend alone, such as protecting the business from risk, enabling enterprise goals, and providing effective legal advice.
To measure how they’re advancing against these other goals, law departments need a metrics model that captures their progress in these areas. If the team can only share metrics related to spending, the team will be seen solely as a cost center. Metrics showing the broader effectiveness of the legal team can help convince company leadership and the board that the law department is a strategic partner.
We’ve already discussed approaches that can help law departments rethink their metrics programs as tools to better manage their departments and elevate its perception. We’ve also written about frameworks for optimizing legal spending data that enable law departments to make better decisions about their allocation of work, their choice of outside legal services providers, and opportunities to gain efficiencies with the use of technology.
Now we turn to an examination of metrics related to quality and effectiveness. While these metrics may seem a bit less intuitive and more difficult to collect than those around spending, there are, nevertheless, a wide variety of metrics that can capture key elements of