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“Making the legal department’s functions more transparent by quantifying what the lawyers do and reporting it”

General counsel want to show clients the value produced by the legal team, but often haven’t a persuasive way to convey that. The new general counsel of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, Christopher Dewees, wants the efforts of his dozen or so attorneys to be better understood by clients. He explains some of his efforts in Corp. Counsel, Vol. 16, April 2009 at 47. The quote in the header starts the topic.

Dewees wants to apprise clients of the number of new patent applications, “how much the company pays in customs duties, or how and where it directs whistle-blower complaints.”

Metrics have been good to me, and I applaud his efforts to quantify the work of the law department (See my post of Feb. 25, 2008: practice area benchmarks with 24 references.). Numbers tell some of the story – you can tally up contracts completed, NDA’s signed, cases closed, and on and on – but some data makes little sense. In that senseless category are payments for customs duties and traffic direction on 800-line calls.

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