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“Six metrics every litigation manager should implement”

Three presenters at ACC’s 2004 Annual Meeting, from ConocoPhilips, duPont, and BellSouth, discussed six metrics under this heading.  All I have are the overheads. 

The six metrics and their sub-metrics: (1) case inventory; (2) total cost to resolve (TCR+); and (3) dispute cycle time – each of those three having sub-metrics by type and business unit.  Further, (4) outside counsel fees, both actual and budget; (5) early case assessment; and (6) after action reviews – with the last two having sub-metrics of use and effectiveness.

TCR+ captures the usual costs of litigation, plus both inside staff time and client time value as well as expenses.  The presenters propose using TCR+ to calculate such dispute metrics as total resolution costs as a percentage of it, and total outside counsel fees, expenses and costs as a percentage of it.

One slide states, without discussion, that in-house litigation managers should capture “total savings on outside counsel … resulting from negotiated discounts and alternative fee arrangements.”  I wish I knew how the proposed to calculate those savings.  They measure dispute cycle time “between opening a matter and closing it consistent with the matter management guidelines” – again, I wish it were as simple and reliable to do as it is to state.  After action reviews are post mortems, “a formal process of conducting a timely analysis of significant matters after matter conclusion.”  Would that I could offer more about that pregnant standard.

Overall, these metrics make sense for law departments swamped with cases.  They presume (a) an educated and disciplined group of lawyers, paralegals, and secretaries who (b) accurately enter information into a capable matter management system and have (c) capable support staff dedicated to the effort.  The presenters also presume those same people have time to think about the numbers they are producing and act based on their conclusions. 

The metrics conspicuously lacking include budget performance and outcomes.

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