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What in-house departments want from their law firms

New research from CLOC reveals the most important metrics by which corporate counsel will measure the value of their law firms, as well as the kinds of innovation they want to see from them.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 13 August 2019 Corporate Counsel
Mary O'Carroll
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According to the second annual 2019 State of the Industry Survey, released by the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), legal operations team said the top four things they want from their law firms were: more creative and alternative pricing arrangements, better project management, more internal use of technology and digital access to content, advise or customised documents.

Also revealed were the top metrics by which firms were evaluated. The top seven criteria were: quality of work, cost-effectiveness, responsiveness and timeliness, results and outcomes, understanding and aligning with a business, service delivery and diversity and inclusion.


More than 50 per cent of respondents of the CLOC survey – comprising professionals from over 200 companies in 30 industries and 18 countries – said they use these seven categories to evaluate a firm’s overall performance and value to the business.

When it came to conducting reviews on the performance of law firms, only 13 per cent said they review all firms. Eleven per cent said they review most firms, 31 per cent they review some firms, and 46 per cent said they don’t conduct performance reviews on firms at all.

On the question of innovation that corporate counsel want to see from law firms, the respondents (on a scale of one to five, being low- to high-priority) listed being more creative and alternative pricing at 3.95.

Better project management, more internal use of technology, client-facing digital services with self-service access to content, advice or customised documents, changes in business structure or incentive model, tech or innovation incubators and a dedicated innovation chair or council were also ranked highly as innovative strategies that corporate counsel wish to see from law firms.

The CLOC report also found that, on average, 37 per cent of companies spent more than $750,000 on legal technology in 2018, and that the average small company (i.e. less than US$1 billion) has 19 full-time employees, the average midsize company (between US$1 billion and US$9.9 billion) has 51 FTE employees and the average large company (more than US$10 billion) has 306.

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