An interview in the Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 15, July 2007 at 27, spills over with metrics. In the Eastern District of Virginia “there is a 15% chance of the defendants succeeding on a motion to transfer.” Later the interviewed notes that in almost every District Court, “patentee plaintiffs have well over a 50 percent chance of winning a summary judgment motion.” Data also show that in two Courts “plaintiffs have more than an 80% chance of success at a jury trial.” As to the speed with which cases are handled, which depend in part on judges’ caseloads, great variance is found. In the Eastern District of Virginia fewer than three cases per judge were filed in 2006 whereas in the District of Delaware more than 47 cases per judge were filed.
Each of these metrics – and others of a similar kind – enables law departments to do two things. They can establish performance metrics for law firms that handle matters on a fixed fee. They can also base incentive payments on whether or not law firms match or better the norms of performance. To manage well, it helps to have metrics.