Taking a sip from a fire hydrant

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8 March 2012


Posted by Will Long, head of in-house development at Legal Futures Associate LexisNexis

Long: board advised in-house lawyers to discard preconceptions that they are purely “word people”

Metrics, KPIs, benchmarking, six sigma and lean process mapping. It might seem far removed from the day-to-day work of an in-house lawyer – yet these were some of the themes under discussion during a recent meeting of the LexisNexis In-house Advisory Board.

The advisory board is a group of 15 senior in-house lawyers who regularly meet to discuss practical approaches to tackling common challenges. Earlier this year, the board shared experiences of using metrics to demonstrate value, and a note has just been published summarising the discussion.

According to the note, a metrics programme can help deliver outcomes as wide ranging as self-diagnosis, implementing strategic improvements, reducing costs, increasing the influence of legal, and developing and motivating your team. Some commonly gathered metrics include staffing, ultilisation, internal and external costs, income, compliance and client satisfaction.

In fact, the mountain of information available and the time commitment involved can be intimidating. Surely a metrics programme is not the best use of time when a team is already struggling to cope with increased internalisation of work and limited resources?

Iain Larkins, general counsel of Mercedes Benz, disagrees. “A busy in-house lawyer overwhelmed by the day job might be deterred from taking the time to embark on this,” he admits. “But if anything that

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One Response to “Taking a sip from a fire hydrant”

  1. Benchmarking is an incredible tool and affords the CLO/GC or other management level attorneys the tool to defend or make changes in their current resources allocation. The Reese Morrison survey is only one of many benchmarking tools available. Another great benchmarking survey is the HBR Law Department Survey which has been providing benchmarking data for over 25 years. If your legal department is considering benchmarking I recommend inquiring about the HBR Law Department Survey.

  2. Jason on March 12th, 2012 at 4:58 pm

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Legal professionals, as communicators, serve a crucial role in social conversations, but have not been quick to adopt a strong presence on social media. Many lawyers are reluctant to start a social media profile as they don’t foresee any benefits to having one. The bottom line is that lawyers won’t get clients from social media if they are not using it. With 62% of adults having a Facebook account, your clients – and competitors – are using social media and you can no longer afford to treat it as an afterthought in the digital age.

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