How Metrics Are Transforming In-house Legal Counsel Decision Making

A fascinating article on Lawyers Weekly has highlighted the expanding role that data-driven metrics is having on the role of the In-house Legal Counsel team, and the way that their decisions are being made. The has broader implications for legal executive search firms, as it brings technical and data skills right to the forefront of the search criteria.

As the article overviews: “As one of CLOC’s Core 12 Competencies, “Business Intelligence” focuses on making better decisions through the use of data. CLOC says the current reality is that in-house departments make minimal use of data and metrics, often struggling to access or identify the right data, and/or lacking the culture to make consistent use of analytics. Yet the alternative is an organisation that’s managed and guided through data, not intuition, and uncovers hidden trends, new efficiencies, and focuses on the team’s clear and measurable outcomes that make a difference to the business.”

It’s easy to understand why the In-house Legal Counsel should be enthusiastic adopters of data and metrics. While experience and intuition will always have a place in these roles, having hard data and facts to substantiate decisions helps to mitigate against the risk of human error, and provides the support that the Legal team need to deliver the best possible outcomes for their organisation.

As the article on Lawyers Weekly explains, data and metrics can be used to answer a wide range of questions, including:

  • Prioritising workload – how should we use our resources?
  • Managing external spend – what type of work do we want to outsource?
  • Streamlining or automating manual processes – how can we use our time on higher-value legal work?
  • Managing risk – what is our appetite for risk?

“The magic of metrics begins to appear when the findings are analysed, reported on, and used to inform the decision-making process,” the article explains. “It’s then that the impact of informed decisions is evident across not only the legal department, but also across the wider organisation.

“With improved transparency, the real value of the legal department is shared with the wider organisation. Decisions are more impactful, as they’re backed by rich, real-time data. There’s improved productivity with a greater understanding of the performance of the in-house legal team, including the workflow, the type of work being done, and any areas that need addressing. Both internal and external spend is optimised, with a more comprehensive understanding of outsourced work.”

Of course, there is also the question about how mature the data and metrics practices are, and one of the skills that legal executive search firms are being tasked with finding is those that can help the In-house Legal Counsel team develop their data and metrics strategy.

For more insight into the role of data and metrics in In-house Legal Counsel, read the Lawyers Weekly article here.