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A look at maturity models applicable to law departments

This blog has acknowledged a handful of maturity models that pertain to law departments (See my post of May 15, 2009: for compliance; May 12, 2010: for attention to intellectual property; May 12, 2010: for legal departments overall; Aug. 10, 2011: for outside counsel management; and Aug. 10, 2011: for leadership development.). A maturity model attempts to describe different levels of sophistication of some practice or process.

In Met. Corp. Counsel, Dec. 2011 at 16, an article refers to a maturity model for e-discovery promulgated by the Gartner Group. A maturity model puts law departments on a nominal scale (one that shows only differences between positions). Law department A is further along in its development than law department B. The maturity models cited above content themselves with nominal scales.

Whereas, an ordinal scale shows both differences and magnitude. Law department A is at level six; while B is at level 4. The most sophisticated maturity models offer a progression where each step is equivalent between each level. Such an interval model shows difference, magnitude and equal intervals.