Corporate Legal Departments are Using Analytics to Evaluate Legal Services
Whether it is measuring the performance of an in-house team or measuring the performance of outside counsel, corporate legal departments are using data driven analytics to evaluate legal processes. Wendy Rubas, General Counsel of Village MD, began measuring her performance when she realized that in a business atmosphere no one cared that she won summary judgement (a big deal for lawyers). Wendy spoke at the Financial Legal Technology Conference at Chicago Kent and also this week to students at Michigan State College of Law explaining the evolution of the scorecards she created to evaluate her team’s performance. Her goal was to effectively communicate to the business why it was paying its lawyers.
“When presenting data, lawyers think the format doesn’t matter…but it does.” Wendy spoke about the reality of implementing tech – she thought she would receive a positive response, but immediately everyone wanted to point out how it could be better.
Wendy refused to give up though, despite the lack of praise she received for all the work she prepared to show outcomes and make improvements. She’s the Oprah of legal tech! She’s open to discussing “faults” in the analytics because that means improvement.
Since then, she has started using technology to make her scorecards automatic, revised her evaluation factors, and now is measuring processes like contract review.
Outside lawyer performance is being quantitatively analyzed as well. Vince Cordo, Global Litigation Sourcing Officer at Shell, spoke at Financial Legal Tech conference about using key performance indicators to build an understanding of standards in-house counsel expect from work given to outside law firms. He focused on how Shell is quantifying factors such as communication between the business and the law firms, turnaround times, and quality of outside work. “Shell legal is . . . run as a business to ensure there is single point accountability for budget and results.1” He showed how data was gathered through programs like Excel and Microsoft Access.
Bottom line – in-house counsel is using data driven analytics to measure value delivery and outcomes are important. In the words of Pamela Morgan:
“For people who say ‘I don’t like math’ my advice is ‘Get comfortable.’”
Check out Justin Evan’s blog for more of the themes at the FinLegalTech Conference