Behind every corporate legal team or law firm inspired to deliver exceptional value to their corporate clients is a leader who recognizes and fosters the need for new levels of clarity as well as transparency in performance.
In this series, I interview legal industry leaders as well as innovators that are bringing transparency to legal performance in their own unique way. We talk about how Google fosters new tech in their legal departments. In this interview, I speak with Sylvia Chen, patent counsel, and head of patent operations at Google.
Google is constantly pushing the envelope to create new ways for people and additionally businesses to interact with technology. It’s no surprise that they also bring innovation to legal processes. An excellent example is a process they’ve developed to assess the value that Google’s many outside counsel patent firms provide.
Part 2: The Evaluation Process
What are your key criteria for evaluation?
Our key metrics are based on the “management triangle” – quantity, cost and quality. Because the Google Patents Team mostly uses flat-fee billing, the cost is not necessarily a cost per unit but includes accuracy and timeliness of billing – which are additional objective metrics related to cost. Quality is measured using more subjective metrics, which we seek to define more tightly every year.
What tools do you use to collect as well as analyze the information?
We use our docketing tool, our billing tool and our in-house survey tool (Google Forms). There are no custom tools. Everything is off-the-shelf, but we do have data scientists (analysts) embedded in our team who have helped refine some of the metrics. For example: when should completion of a task be considered timely versus tardy? Our outside counsel was considering that an activity completed on the date when they made a submission. Based on thoughts about Google’s goals, we decided instead to measure completion as the date when we received an accurate submission.
How much time and resources does your team spend on the evaluation process?
A lot. We have an entire program that addresses how to improve communications, relations, expectations correspondingly and fosters feedback with our firms, and our annual scorecard is an important piece of that program. It takes 2.5 person-months a year to support the process. Other than people’s time, there are no additional costs.
Qualmet is a cloud-based SaaS provider. Offering customers a single sign-on platform to objectively as well as easily evaluate the quality of service. Services provided by their outside counsel as well as alternative legal service providers. Many of the world’s largest law firms and corporate law departments collaborated in the development of Qualmet. The Qualmet tool uniquely positions users to quickly as well as easily measure the value delivered by their service providers. By coupling industry-aligned evaluation as well as legal metrics with objective benchmarking capabilities, Qualmet helps customers define and drive meaningful cost savings as well as value in their organizations. Qualmet’s searchable database of evaluated service providers ranked based on objective metrics is the first of its kind in the legal industry. Know Where You Stand™. Let Qualmet help you drive sustainable and meaningful value for your organization. Follow us on Facebook for updates.