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Why metrics are the second most common group in the 120 best posts on this blog from May 2009 — May 2010

The question posed by the header has some easy answers. Much truth lies in the commonplace notion that you can manage something better if you have numbers to back you up. If you know what your average effective rate is for your law firms, you have a full step advantage over a lawyer who doesn’t know cost differences.

Second, in the world of law department management, maps show dragonlike creatures in the far corners. Much is subjective, anecdotal folklore. Until we understand whether leverage in a department, or any number of other practices, actually brings down total legal costs – and by how much – we are sailing blindly.

Third, I have been engrossed for more than a year in the world’s largest benchmarking study of legal departments. It has been fascinating to create and nurture this capability and to push it so that our industry can understand its metrics better. As my thoughts rarely stray from General Counsel Metrics, LLC, .my blog posts reflect points that interest me. Sixteen of the 120 fell into this category.

Fourth, in-house lawyers for the most part speak only one language: text and words. They have little facility with the language of numbers, let alone graphical representations of numbers. Both calculations and charts dominate metrics and benchmarks so there is much to translate that is new and insightful.

Finally, metrics about legal departments hide themselves skillfully so it is a game to lure them into the open and to figure them out. I like that game and am good at it so my most-interesting posts contain many of those results. Email me if you would like the entire 28-page collection.

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