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A clever chart that shows your department on three comparisons as to nine benchmarks

During a recent consultation, I reviewed a chart that covered metrics for nine basic benchmarks. The chart had five columns, the first being the metric, such as outside legal spending per lawyer. The next column was 1st quartile, then 2nd quartile, 3rd quartile and 4th quartile.

The legal department had put a colored circle in the middle of a column to show on that particular benchmark where it stood by quartile. For example, on inside spending per lawyer this department was in the fourth quartile so the colored circle was in the middle of the rightmost column; on total legal spending as a percentage of revenues it was at the median so its colored circle was on the line down the middle (between 2nd and 3rd quartile).

The chart went further. Each metric had color-coded a circle in a column to show the legal department’s match-up to the median of its industry group, group of companies of roughly comparable revenues, and group of companies with roughly the same number of attorneys. All in all, an impressive and effective display of quantitative information.

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