■ Percentage of external spending allocated to alternative fee arrangements;
■ Percentage of matters assigned via competitive bidding;
■ Percentage of dollars spent working with women- or minority-owned firms;
■ Percentage of hours worked or dollars billed by female or minority lawyers; and
■ Number of internal evaluations completed regarding outside counsel performance.
In terms of frequency of analysis, the assessment periods will likely vary depending upon what is
being tracked and the need for sufficient time to “course correct.” For example, a legal department
might establish monthly tracking for items like actual spending vs. budgeted spending on key
matters, quarterly tracking for items like number of outside counsel performance evaluations
completed, and yearly tracking for items like amount of outside counsel spending managed per in-house lawyer.
One of the most valuable uses of metrics and related analysis is determining how a particular
figure fits within the context of other similar figures (e.g., comparative law firm costs to produce a
certain piece of work). With targeted effort, you can tap several sources of information to produce
this comparative assessment of metrics. First, look at your historical data. Some will be in useable
format (either electronic or paper), while some may require a bit of “archeology.” If it is too hard
to re-create the past, you can implement ways to effectively gather the data going forward,
including targeted benchmarking, reviewing available surveys and data, and asking outside
counsel about information they have on the historical costs and complexity of past issues and how
that compares against their other clients.
The following resources elaborate further on the use of metrics to measure success.
“Viacom: Using Dashboards and Matter Management to Apply Business Rules to Outside
Counsel Spend – Plus, Budget Training for Lawyers,” ACC Value Practice (Sept. 2010),
www.acc.com/legalresources/resource.cfm?show=1000941 (elaborates on use of
real-time reports in managing matters and outside counsel).
“Assessing Legal Performance at Allstate – ‘Closing the Loop’ on Performance of Premier Law
Firms and In-house Lawyers,” ACC Value Practice (Apr. 2009), available at
www.acc.com/legalresources/resource.cfm?show=189752 (describes use of annual surveys
and related metrics to measure outside counsel and legal department performance).
“Outside Counsel Evaluations Lead to Enhanced Alignment and Value at Wal-Mart,” ACC
Value Practice (Sept. 2008), available at
www.acc.com/legalresources/resource.cfm?show=39926 (discusses use of surveys and
related metrics to measure outside counsel performance).