One more shot at the metrics proposed by The Open Legal Standard

Previous posts have flayed at the Nov. 10, 2005 release by The Open Legal Standard of its “top 25 general law department metrics” (at 9) (See my posts of Sept. 13, 2006.). Unfortunately, criticism of seven of those metrics doesn’t end the onslaught. More are flawed.

What sense is there in “Percentage of in-house time devoted to counseling/proactive risk-reduction efforts” (No. 22)? Every time an in-house lawyer communicates with a client could be deemed “counseling,” and every time an in-house lawyer spots a possible legal risk and does something about it could be deemed “proactive risk-reduction.” The parts of this metric consume the whole.

“Percentage of cost of resolving a matter associated with non-professional staff time” (No. 23) bewilders me. It may be a clunky way to try to measure leverage: does a department use paralegals (are they insulted to be lumped as non-professionals?). But even so, the “cost of resolving” implies settlement dollars, and those funds bear no evident relationship to the time those secretaries and file clerks spend on a matter. What does this strange metric mean, even if it could be collected?

One more head-shaker (No. 26): “Percentage of matters handled purely by means of data-and information-sharing extranet (excluding self-contained communications with outside counsel and other parties, like phone calls and letters).” Indeed.

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