Many surveys of law departments – such as those from Altman Weil, Thomson Hildebrandt, and Empsight – compare current metrics to the previous year’s metrics. What the survey reports do not do is show how a metric has endured over a period of five years or more.
I believe that many benchmark metrics that get wide publicity remain quite stable over the years, if you look at reasonably comparable populations and medians. A number of my posts have started to explore the longevity of basic performance benchmarks (See my post of July 20, 2008: Altman Weil data over four years; Dec. 5, 2007: stability of a ratio over a decade; Dec. 21, 2008: lawyers per billion trending down; Dec. 21, 2008: outside counsel spend trending down; July 20, 2008: comparative data over five years; July 21, 2008: five year’s data on internal spending; July 21, 2008: comp and benefits spend over five years; and Aug. 4, 2008: a mashup of data over five years.).