Descriptive metrics – the series so far – and thoughts on the ill-fated effort to develop that idea

At one point this Spring I set off on an ambitious series of posts about what I call “descriptive metrics.” I persuaded myself that I had hit upon a higher-level way to quantify and depict legal department performance and characteristics. Eight posts eventually saw the light of day, but I think the series will now go dark (See my post of Feb. 19, 2009: supervisory responsibility; Feb. 26, 2009: start of a series on descriptive metrics; March 8, 2009: in-house lawyers; March 9, 2009: fee concentration with firm size and effective rate; March 11, 2009: management initiatives; March 26, 2009: degree of client reliance on the legal department; May 19, 2009: workload; and May 28, 2009: h-index of law firm use.).

Any time a legal department counts something that metric becomes a benchmark candidate if enough departments shared their respective counts. Hence, “benchmarks” are “descriptive metrics.” To describe a law department through metrics, singly or in combinations such as indices, is no new kind of beast, so I will retire the concept and end the series.

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