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For law departments, to deliver value is not the same as to demonstrate you deliver value

Under the promising headline in Inside Counsel, April 2007, “How do you demonstrate that your legal function adds value?,” Luke Baer, general counsel of Robert Bosch Corp., purports to offer four ideas, except that three of them do not apply. More precisely, three activities may deliver value but they do not prove it: to emphasize clarity in legal advice, to “put remote legal outcomes into perspective,” and to manage outside litigation counsel with client involvement don’t prove value added by the law department. Each of those activities has value and may be appreciated by clients, but like all good deeds of in-house lawyers they do not demonstrate value delivered let along quantify the contribution.

The fourth step by the Robert Bosch legal team has some probative worth: a client satisfaction survey. “Every department lawyer is required to list his or her top 20 client contacts, and each of these contacts is surveyed once a year.” My view, expressed in my book, Client Satisfaction for Law Departments, is that you can best prove a law department adds value when its clients say so.