Is Your Legal Department Ready for the NFL Big Game?

Legal Department

The Big Game is quickly approaching, and as Tom Brady suits up for a possible sixth Super Bowl victory, it’s worth asking, what do the best NFL teams all have in common? They measure performance.
Why is performance measurement important? As the Eagles, as well as the Patriots, know, what gets measured gets improved. Legal departments need to take that lesson to heart and measure their own performance in order to make significant improvements.

How have NFL teams leveraged performance measurement? Two prime examples come from the teams facing off in Super Bowl LII. As The New York Post reported this month, “The Eagles are the NFL’s version of Moneyball.” According to the Post, “the Eagles have embraced an analytics-based approach in key situations, and also have a head coach who is committed to the process.”

Taking advantage of data analytics

Their opponents in this year’s Super Bowl are also taking advantage of data analytics. In fact, as Jeffrey Burt reported on The Next Platform, “It’s gotten so important for the Patriots and team owner Robert Kraft that he spun out a new business called KAGR (Kraft Analytics Group) to not only leverage the data they were getting to better engage fans but also to offer technology to other companies for their own data science efforts.”

But measuring the performance of your outside counsel isn’t as simple as timing a 60-yard shuttle run. Consequently, it might not be practical to put an RFID tag on your attorney’s suit to monitor running patterns. So what should you measure and why?

The metrics you use should speak to the unique needs of your business. Consider using a numerical scale to rate satisfaction across each area.

For example, how well does your law firm know your business? Does your attorney respond to your emails within days or minutes? Can you trust that your law firm is working toward the broader goals of your company?

Consider elevating your matter management efforts by asking your in-house team to rate the outside counsel’s resource management on each matter. This could include a review of the staffing for the matter, or the use of technology to cut down on billing for administrative tasks. Matter management will show efficiency, but polling your in-house team will show effectiveness.

With these and coupled with any other relevant metrics in hand, you should be able to set your outside counsel lineup with the same precision as an NFL coach. You will be able to pinpoint your top performers, and as you collect more data, you’ll also be able to drill down into who performs the best on specific types of matters.

If collecting and analyzing these metrics for your legal department seems like a daunting task, then think about it from the perspective of an NFL team. What would happen if a team didn’t have access to metrics on player performance? What would happen if there were no statistical comparisons of teams and individuals? How would decisions be made about who to start, who to draft and who to move into a new position?

Without statistics, professional sports organizations would be flying blind.

They would be left with intuition alone to make decisions. Ask yourself, how is your department currently making decisions? As well as, do you have the data you need to make decisions that align your department’s actions with the needs of the business?

Good coaches also know that players need continuous feedback in order to improve. As Eagle’s quarterback Nick Foles recently told ESPN about his early career with then-coach Andy Reid, “I think he got out of me more than I ever thought possible,” Foles said. “He pushed me every throw. Everything I did, [Reid] really helped me be the player that I was the next year and also just to continue to grow.”

Wins and losses are, of course, the ultimate determination of success. But after the game, strong coaches review key performance metrics to uncover exactly what actions produced the outcome – whether it was a win or a loss. This analysis guides decision-making in similar situations in the future. Likewise, general counsel needs to go through the same post-game analysis with their outside counsel at the end of a matter.

In the legal world, improvement can come from tangible, matter-level efficiencies and also from the subjective analysis of outside counsel’s client service. To create a culture of continuous improvement that strengthens relationships with outside counsel, GCs should look closely at metrics from both areas.

So what will your winning legal department do with access to NFL level metrics?

You could know which law firms are best able to generate outcomes that align with your business. You could also identify areas where you need to draft new law firms for help. In addition to areas where you need to start your long-time, high-performing outside counsel. You might even be able to forecast that the 199th draft pick overall will be playing for another Super Bowl ring 18 years later. Maybe you already have a law firm like this in your lineup? Only data will tell.

This NFL Super Bowl season, get ahead of your competition as well as start using data to set your law firm lineup. Coach your high performers through each matter, and you’ll benefit from a continuously improving relationship with your outside legal counsel. They will be able to work toward your business goals, and moreover, you will be in a position to win.

About Qualmet

Qualmet is a cloud-based SaaS provider offering customers a single sign-on platform to objectively and easily evaluate the quality of service provided by their outside counsel and alternative legal service providers. Developed in collaboration with many of the world’s largest law firms and corporate law departments, the Qualmet tool uniquely positions users to quickly and easily measure the value delivered by their service providers. By coupling industry-aligned evaluation and legal metrics with objective benchmarking capabilities, Qualmet helps customers define and drive meaningful cost savings and 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.

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