initiatives to release capacity and allow higher-value work. They used “small data” to identify
pain points for themselves and their clients, ultimately freeing up the time equivalent of 11
If runaway external legal expenses need reining in, moving to flat fees is one (potent) solution,
as Medibank, REA Group, and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank have demonstrated. That often
begins with capturing historic spending in key “buckets” of work to inform pricing of matters,
phases of matters, or portfolios. Armed with information about historic costs, albeit on an
inherently inflated basis of hourly rates, law department and law firm leaders can collaborate
to set prices that capture the benefit of incenting efficiency and a focus on preventing legal
Preventing litigation is itself another area that benefits from rigorous measurement.
Consistently conducting root cause analyses to understand where and why disputes occur, and
accumulating the results in dashboards or heat maps, can yield insights about need for more
training, better contractual terms, or hotlines to avoid legal matters. The legal department can
capitalize on small data to proactively solve business and organizational problems.
A close cousin of root cause analysis, and an element of the process improvement discipline,
is conducting After Action Reviews (AARs) as a last step in the Project Management
cycle. While reporting progress against milestones and budgets is inherent in using project
management to keep legal matters on track and under control, AARs are critical to continuous
improvement. Effective leaders of value initiatives rigorously use AARs to refine legal
strategies and matter pricing, as well as process and project management.
As many of the value leaders featured in this guide have pointed out, it is important to start
with a few modest steps, measure results, and iterate to drive improvement. As the saying goes,
“Start small and go big.” We wish you a successful value journey, and invite you to measure
how you cut costs, improved predictability, or achieved better outcomes, then enter our
annual, friendly competition to be named an ACC Value Champion.