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The starting point for an outside counsel spending matrix and analysis

Here’s what to do to start analyzing your outside counsel spending. In a spreadsheet, list down the first column all the law firms you paid during the past three years. Next, create a column for each area of law that has significant outside counsel spending: litigation, patent and trademark, finance and SEC, commercial contracts, regulatory – whatever are your company’s costly areas. Enter the amount you paid a firm for an area of law it serviced. In the column to the immediate right of each area of law, show how many matters the firm handled. Sort the data in descending order of total payments to the law firms.

If you have that three-year data, you have a pretty good picture of your spending, and you can begin to analyze of how well you are concentrating your spending, evaluating law firms, selecting firms, and managing them.