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The Missing Metric – Productivity

A gaping hole sits in the middle of law department metrics.  Nearly everything can be counted and benchmarked, except for lawyer productivity.  No one has figured out how to measure the quality-adjusted output of lawyers. 

By quality-adjusted I mean that you can’t simply count the number of contracts completed per lawyer; you need to include a large dollop of complexity, sophistication, and suitability to purpose.  You can’t say that lawyers handle $300M per lawyer worth of deals – a rough proxy for productivity in a year – without also mixing in some assessment of the difficulty of the deals and the appropriateness of the legalities dealt with.  All this is to say that lawyer productivity has a qualitative, immeasurable component that counts for far more than the pieces of work you can tally.