We’re aware that some in-house counsel rely (willingly or unwillingly) on procurement officers to make or influence decisions about the selection of outside counsel. We’re also aware that some in-house counsel are as mystified about the changing marketplace as their outside counsel, so in lieu of making wise choices based on predictability, value and subject matter expertise they hire the largest brand-name firm willing to accept substantial discounts. But while these extremes make for good copy, the reality is there are many excellent in-house legal departments and business managers engaged in informed buying.
I have the pleasure to moderate a panel discussion of several of these thought leaders at an upcoming Ark conference event aptly titled “Business Intelligence and Analytics in the Legal Profession.” The conference will be held at the AMA Executive Conference Centre in New York City on Thursday, April 18, 2013. The specific one-hour session for our topic, titled “How Corporate Legal Departments are Using Analytics to Measure the Value of the Products and Services They Buy,” will commence at 1 PM ET. I will be joined by James Partridge, Chief Counsel of Ally Financial; Bob Ingato, Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary at CIT Group Inc.; and Anne Sonnen, Deputy General Counsel & Chief Administrative Officer, Legal, Corporate & Compliance Group at BMO Financial Group. We will present and discuss several specific examples of how in-house counsel use analytics to measure and select outside counsel.
From the session description:
As legal departments learn to capitalize on data-driven business intelligence, the opportunity to save money on outside legal spend increases dramatically. It’s no secret, they are using objective data in order to negotiate rates, assess risk, measure skill level, efficiency, flexibility, outcomes—embracing (and using) big data to measure the value of the products and services they buy. Tactical measures have been taken to integrate matter management, e-billing, and reporting systems to access detailed performance information on outside counsel—leveraging “tools of empowerment” to take advantage of an increasingly competitive market for legal services. To compound the challenge for law firms, legal departments have also tapped procurement teams in some cases to assist in-house lawyers with defining the scope of projects, selecting the right suppliers, negotiating cost, and evaluating performance. The client has become quite sophisticated and squarely focused on harnessing the power of their data.