Pitifully few departments deliberately and quantitatively assess their law firms

The Altman Weil 2005 survey of law departments found that only 18 percent of them “formally evaluate” their outside counsel. Those 26 law departments, from a participant group of 140 that included 40 with revenues over $5 billion, certainly vary in the degree of formality, discipline and coverage of their evaluations, so even that broad statement may grant too much (Legal Week, Vol. 7, Oct. 13, 2005 at 84).

How can law departments think they effectively control law firm costs if they haphazardly and subjectively assess their firms’ performance? Even a few simple metrics and procedures will give law departments a much better sense of value delivered and will help them guide their key firms to better service. (See my posts of April 14, 2005 on difficulties doing evaluations; Aug. 5, 2005 on some questionable savings claims; Aug. 31, 2005 on Royal Bank of Canada; Sept. 10, 2005 on evaluations of firms by clients; and Oct. 17, 2005 on ranking and rating law firms.)

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