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Unlike other business departments, legal departments have traditionally not busied themselves with tracking graphs, charts and metrics on their department's performance. This has been changing in recent years as the complexity of running a legal department and the scrutiny legal departments are under from the executive level has increased. The question then becomes, what metrics are the most valuable to manage a legal department and show its value to stakeholders in the company?

During tight economic times, all university departments must justify their existence in a measurable way, and legal departments are no different. However, legal departments at academic institutions, both large and small, often find it difficult to adopt the financial and other controls that are necessary to manage spending and results, as well as control risk.

In many academic institutions, the problem of managing legal spending is often complicated by the fact that there are multiple lawyers and non-lawyers managing legal work sprinkled throughout the organisation, including areas such as athletics, human resources, medical facilities, and technology transfer. It is not uncommon for a new GC to take months to figure out what was spent by the institution on legal work during the most recent year, without being fully confident that it has all been found. And academic law departments may be chronically understaffed, further contributing to the lack of financial and management controls.

There is increasing pressure for legal departments to understand and track the legal work being done by outside counsel, while successfully managing legal costs and maintaining compliance. As the scope and volume of legal issues that companies have to deal with has grown, legal departments are finding it increasingly necessary to employ project management techniques and software for e-billing, matter management and reporting to track issues and help control their legal spend.

In this whitepaper we explore how GCs are tackling these problems and their experiences, including:

  • Gaining visibility into legal work
  • Improving legal department efficiency
  • Getting value from your legal spend
  • Regulatory controls
  • Contract and document management
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Customer Stories

This inaugural annual report on US corporate legal departments from Thomson Reuters Legal Tracker, Acritas and the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), examines how in-house legal teams are seeking to leverage technology, focus on innovation and instill a greater sense of discipline to the business operations of their department.