A metric on litigation and employment matters handled without using outside counsel

Praising the law department of Qwest Communications, Corp. Counsel, Vol. 15, June 2008 at 96, mentions that last year the department, winner of the magazine’s award for Best Legal Department of 2008, aspired to handle as much as possible of its client’s work in-house. For instance, “they resolved 61 percent of litigation matters and 76 percent of employment matters without using outside counsel.”

That is a little-seen metric, percentage of adversarial matters resolved in-house. I like the direction in which it is moving. Quibbling just a bit, however, it is true that resolutions can be good and bad, that the definition of a matter may be somewhat flexible (See my post of March 26, 2008: definitions of matters and 14 references cited.), tracking the metric may change the decisions lawyers make regarding when to bring in outside counsel, and that not all adversarial matters present equal legal difficulties. Putting aside those ankle-biting reservations, the essence of that metric — we can do it ourselves just as well — deserves consideration by all law departments.

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