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Rees Morrison’s Morsels #65 – additions to earlier posts

Smaller companies spent much greater percentage of revenues on outside counsel. According to the 2007 ACC/Serengeti Managing Outside Counsel Survey, companies up to $100 million in annual revenue spend on average 1.38 percent of their revenues on outside counsel; companies with $100 million to $1 billion in revenue spend 0.39 percent; and companies over $1 billion in revenues spend 0.10 percent (See my post of Feb. 6, 2008: total legal spending declines as a proportion of revenue as revenue increases.).

Low ratings for Six Sigma and offshoring. The Harv. Bus. Rev., Vol. 85, Feb. 20, 2008, reports on Bain & Company’s 2006 study of 25 popular management tools. Two of the five tools with the lowest usage and satisfaction scores are “Six Sigma” and “Offshoring.” This blog has covered both managerial initiatives fairly intensively (See my posts of Dec. 16, 2007: 19 references cited on offshoring; and Feb. 13, 2008: Six Sigma. Perhaps general counsel lag their corporate peers in adoption of new tools. Perhaps I am more interested in managerial tools than they deserve or perhaps unusual needs of law departments means they should have different rankings.

Psychometric instruments. For a practice-group retreat, a law department in Britain that I worked with used the Insights Preference Evaluator. Based on four Jungian types, the four colors of the Insights Wheel and the associated description of strengths and weaknesses of a person make it another choice for in-house counsel groups who want to have a personality indicator (See my post of Nov. 8, 2007 and references cited for psychometric instruments.).

Data mining with “machine learning.” This analytical tool is described in Columbia, Winter 2007-08 at 50, as a “new, high-powered type of statistical analysis called ‘machine learning,’ which can reveal hidden patterns and associations amid huge data sets.” The article describes machine learning as the technique a researcher used to tease out unobserved associations between female figures depicted in hundreds of decorative ivories, according to dozens of details for each. Law departments could do the same with their invoice data in a matter management system, especially if the customary data were augmented by other details, including perhapssize of the company’s firm, size of the other side’s firm, and a qualitative assessment of the outcome (See my post of Feb. 19, 2007 on data mining.).