An earlier post explains how law departments can describe their management initiatives by combinations of two attributes portrayed on a scatter-gram (See my post of March 11, 2009: management initiatives on double axes.). Mere description of attributes has limited value to general counsel, however, so we need a way to correlate various attributes to changes in costs or productivity related to them.
If the descriptive metrics on mentoring, to take one example, are compared to inside spending per lawyer a year or two later – after enough time for the mentoring program to have had an opportunity to yield benefits, we will be closer to saying that mentoring programs deliver or do not deliver a return on investment (See my post of Feb. 26, 2009: introduction to descriptive metrics.). With enough data from law departments, we can calculate the degree of correlation.
The first level of information is a relationship between two attributes as visualized on a scatter-gram. The correlation of that figure to another figures, such as internal spend per lawyer, is a derivative (See my post of Feb. 12, 2008: why correlations are insightful.). With sufficient data from law departments, this analytic approach has much potential.