The metrics gleaned from analyzing data can help the law department emerge as a strategic partner in the business. Outside counsel fees represent a significant portion of overall spending in many departments, and e-billing solutions can provide the insight necessary to control those costs. However, to optimize performance, gain greater efficiency and make more informed decisions, legal departments need to analyze all costs, internal and external.
For value-adding departments, understanding and leveraging metrics can unlock the hidden value of an organization’s legal data. Metrics can change a law department from a cost liability to a strategic asset.
Exposing metrics is changing the way some legal departments work. “By generating more precise intelligence and reporting from legal activities, we are able to see exactly what’s happening at any given time, and how to react and correct any issues,” says Chad Andrews, Legal Systems Services Leader at Dow Chemical Company. Dow’s in-house team has become better at rejecting invoices that do not adhere to approved billing rates.
Rockwell Automation Inc.’s law firm selection is based on comparisons by venue, practice area and firm performance. Costs can be charged to the appropriate business center. The quarterly accrual process is streamlined by a high level of data accuracy. Last year Rockwell was able to ascertain that 27 percent of the department’s total spending was tied to its top 10 matters, and their top 10 firms were tied to 57 percent of total spending.