If you’re a regular reader of Zen, you know that I’m a big fan of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC). They’re working to revolutionize the legal industry, and engage all facets of it to do so.

One of the ways that legal departments excel and law firms majorly lag behind is with tracking metrics. While the law is indeed a very specialized set of skills, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to track the data that matters. We’ve heard a lot of calls from law departments over the last few years, demanding that their firms institute more tracking, and many firms are doing this to a greater or lesser degree. A huge part of legal operations is managing and understanding data, so that CLOs can identify areas of inefficiency as more pressure comes down from above. 

CLOC isn’t keeping some of that general data a secret, and along with their annual “state of the industry” survey results, they are conducting and publishing a monthly metrics report on a variety of topics. While the sample sizes at this stage are still a bit on the low side, it’s definitely something to watch so you can keep ahead of the curve on future trends, identify some of the things that you’re doing well, where your challenges are, and even where you could be proactive and work with your own clients’ legal departments to help bring them up to speed.

Some of the interesting key findings over the last six months include:

  • 35% of legal departments surveyed make outside counsel or law company hiring decisions based on diversity (note that it’s no longer just “law firms” that are being hired). Source
  • 52.7% of legal departments surveyed believe that their department has become more diverse in the last year. Source
  • CLOC members promote outside counsel diversity with diversity commitment targets, and tracking firm diversity data, which is used to make panel selections and pricing decisions. Source
  • 6 in 10 GCs reacted negatively to the news of associate salary increases. Source
  • Almost three-quarters of respondents said they were more likely to move work in-house or to lower cost alternative providers because of associate salary increases. Source
  • 70% of respondents will reconsider how their matters are staffed. Source
  • 45% of law departments surveyed formally track their litigation success rate. Source
  • 7 out of 10 law departments surveyed track actual spend versus budgeted spend. Source
  • Law departments also track data including the average time to case resolution, the number of matters by plaintiff’s counsel, the number of matters by jurisdiction, the average number of custodians per legal hold, win/loss percentage by firm, number of matters by matter type, the costs by stage of litigation, and the average cost by matter type (to varying degrees). Source
  • 90% of these departments aren’t sharing these metrics with you to incentivize your performance – so you may not even realize your clients are tracking this data. Source
  • 50% of departments surveyed have a preferred provider program. Source 
  • Creating a preferred provider program is all about the bottom dollar – the top three reasons for doing so are to secure better rates, to save money and to secure better spend predictability. Source
  • The legal ops team manages two thirds of the preferred provider programs of those surveyed. Source
  • 61% of those surveyed review the firms in their preferred provider program yearly. Source

As we move further into the “future law firm,” the idea that we’re too specialized to track and understand metrics is one of the past. In addition to keeping an eye on your own metrics, check in with what CLOC is reporting on in their monthly surveys as a means of staying on top of what some of  your clients may be doing too.