Liberty Mutual Evaluates Outside Counsel Part 2

As a legal department leader, are you looking for ways to identify the effectiveness as well as the value of the outside law firms that you retain? Liberty Mutual Insurance has been formally evaluating the performance of the thousands of outside counsel that serve the company during any given year for more than a decade. Several years ago, Liberty Mutual’s legal operations team developed a data-driven process that evaluates both objective and subjective value metrics.

In our Value Drivers series, I interview legal industry leaders as well as innovators that are bringing transparency to legal performance in their own unique way. In this interview, I spoke with Kiran Mallavarapu, senior VP and manager, legal strategic services for Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Bruno Para, AVP and relationship manager for the company’s Central Division. This is the first of two parts of that conversation. Liberty Mutual Insurance is not a Qualmet customer.

Part 2: Key Metrics and How it Evaluates Various Areas

RP:
What are some of the key metrics or subject areas you evaluate?

Para:
We have a number of analytical tools that help us capture data to measure various aspects of a law firm’s performance characteristics. We also send out surveys to our internal business partners that work with our law firms to assess how they are doing, and we gather that feedback. In addition, we go on-site to conduct one-on-one meetings with our firms to assess their performance and furthermore capture additional information regarding their overall legal effectiveness.

We assess medians, averages and total costs. We also look at time from filing to resolution. Then we evaluate firms against themselves and against other firms that are handling similar types of work on a year-over-year basis. We further evaluate how those metrics are trending over the course of time. We customize our conversations with each law firm, as we explain how they’re being evaluated. We’re transparent with our data because it enables firms to achieve better alignment with us and implement changes within their operations to positively enhance their metrics.

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RP:
Do you have any more subjective metrics?

Mallavarapu:
We group our analytics and likewise our metrics into three broad areas. The first would be related to the value that a law firm brings to the table. The quality of the matters that were handled to see if they’ve been done in a proper fashion. The second is more in terms of financials or expenses in terms of their efficiency. Did you really need to work on this case for 100 hours or could you have done this in 50 hours? Are you billing us properly? The third is adherence to our litigation guidelines based on the type of case and based on the type of customer we work with.

Para:
With the third component, we think of that in terms of best practices that all law firms should be providing. For example, timely and meaningful reporting, budgets and standard conflict checks to name a few.

RP:
When you send out surveys to your own people in their dealings with their firms, what kind of things do you address?

Mallavarapu:
Timeliness, whether the law firm utilized its best expertise, their availability when we and the policyholder needed them. Whether or not they understood the situation at hand. In addition to if they understood the policyholder’s business and what that person wanted to achieve.

About Qualmet

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.

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