What services does the law department provide to the business, and who performs them?
A clear understanding of the services provided and who performs them is the crucial first step in
ensuring that staffing is aligned to value. Without this foundation, any subsequent work reallocation
may be piecemeal and potentially counterproductive. The purpose of this phase is to develop a baseline
picture of the services being provided, internally and externally, in order to understand how the law
department is meeting the needs of the business. When performing the assessment, evaluate not only
current services, but also the demand for future services, taking into consideration business issues such
as planned expansions, divestitures, or other matters that will affect the scope of work. This assessment
will require taking a deep look at the department’s current resources.
Data Sources of Information
Begin the assessment with a review of readily accessible data sources. This review will provide a factual
foundation that can support intuition or demystify perceptions about the department’s current workload.
These sources may include timekeeping system data, matter management system data, and e-billing
Use these sources to gain insight into the type of work being performed, the number of resources
performing the work, and some of the cost of the work. In addition to these systemic sources of information,
there is no substitute for getting information straight from those performing the work, especially if the
department does not systematically track internal matters and the effort expended on them.
Internal Work Assessment
Internally, the assessment should focus on the type of work and staffing.
Workload survey. An efficient tool for gathering this information is a survey of the department staff.
Depending on the desired scope, the survey can be distributed to all department members – lawyers,
paralegals, and support staff – or to appropriate subsets of these groups.
Factors to address include the following:
• Estimated annual hours worked
• Current workload distribution by matter type (time spent)
• Complexity of the work
• Value, as determined by level of risk and competitive advantage (see following section for more
information about value)
• Estimated changes in future volume of workload by matter type
• Internal client for whom the work is performed
• Usage of outside counsel for the work
• Estimated change in usage of outside counsel