The most common metric law that departments track regarding amounts spent on matters is outside counsel fees and expenses. Matter management systems handle that tracking with precision, or accounts payable systems aggregate those figures more grossly. Some law departments go a step further and track settlement payments; some even track settlement receipts. But what law departments do not collect is data on the value of time consumed internally by clients of the law department or those within the law department. If your law department tracks lawyer and paralegal time to specific matters, those numbers also can contribute figures regarding a law department’s internal investment in particular matters. This column focuses on the former: client time.
It would prove impossible to pin down the amount of time individual employees devote to particular legal matters. To try to tease out “legal time” defies practicality and sensibility because legal issues and decisions weave through so many aspects of transactions and decisions.