As General Counsel, you need to be able to define and track efficiency opportunities, and communicate the value the legal department is generating for the company. Metrics can help legal departments quantify, analyse and report on performance and demonstrate business value. Tracking the workload and productivity of legal staff is an important part of demonstrating efficiency and value. Metrics that measure productivity can help you manage individual employee performance according to overall department goals and ensure that internal resources are being used efficiently.
Here are a few “must-track” metrics for measuring legal staff productivity in your legal department. For a more granular view of productivity, you can drill down each of these metrics by matter type (i.e. pending litigation, contracts reviewed, transactions handled) or spread across time to see changes in performance.
- Workload - The total number of matters managed by in-house counsel by type.
- Workload per lawyer - The number of matters handled internally divided by the number of lawyers or paralegals, by type. In the absence of industry benchmarks, the workload per lawyer can be used to set internal productivity goals.
- Internal matter management rate - The number of matters handled in-house divided by total number of matters, by type. Higher rates indicate that your legal department has a lower dependency on outside counsel.
- Open matters over time - The number of all open matters over a defined time period. Tracking open matters over time can help identify where efficiencies need to be made.
- Matter cycle time - The average cycle time per matter. Cycle time is the time, expressed in days, it takes to handle a legal matter from its beginning to its end. Longer cycle times can translate into less efficiency and greater cost to the legal department.
- Spend to budget per lawyer - The actual amount spent by the attorney for the year compared to that attorney’s annual budget. Tracking variance in budget to actual spend can help you gauge the efficiency of each attorney in managing costs.
Metrics are invaluable to in-house lawyers – they help track legal department productivity and highlight opportunities for improvement. However, metrics alone do not solve workload inefficiencies. To take action, you need to combine these metrics with specific insights on your company’s legal activities.
When it comes to reporting on legal data, a cloud-based management system can simplify the process by providing accurate data at the touch of a button. A legal repository can assist you in cross-referencing and generating insightful reports on contracts, claims and company information, giving you an accurate view of the liabilities and risks across the entire company.
For these reasons, consider also reading our article about legal document management.