About the Author

Connie Brenton

Connie Brenton is chief of staff and director of legal operations at NetApp. Email her at connie.brenton@netapp.com.

Article List

  • The data deficit

    Proper measurement is a prerequisite to proper management. You need clean, accurate data before you can be data-driven. If you’re not collecting data now, you’re already behind. The first step towards running the legal department like a business and being data-driven is to decide why you’re collecting the data and...

  • More than great lawyers

    While legal insight can be the product of a solitary genius, the delivery of modern legal services demands a mix of people, processes and technology. Our previous columns calling for structured dialogue between law departments and law firms are informed by our view that the marketplace should pay more attention...

  • On law department responsibility (Part 2)

    Our last column called for structured dialogue between law departments and law firms. We recommended an ongoing conversation about identifiable improvements in how legal services are delivered. With people and pricing in place, process will drive continuous improvement. Collaboration can deepen relationships between law departments and law firms. Better legal...

  • On law department responsibility (Part 1)

    It is a buyer's market for legal services. Yet, there remain many glaring deficits in the delivery of legal services that we have not remedied. To address these faults, we need to incent outside counsel to work differently, set clear expectations for what we want, and work collaboratively to ensure...

  • Bad budgeting

    Projections do not need to be precise in order to be accurate. A preoccupation with precision seems to paralyze many outside counsel when they are asked to present a budget or bid on a fixed fee.

  • Rack rate fiction (Part 2)

    Garbage in, garbage out. As we strive to introduce more empirical approaches to legal-quality and spend management, we continue running into the problem of garbage data.

  • Rack rate fiction (Part 1)

    Published billable rates are a fiction, not only because no one pays them, but also because of their tenuous relationship to the underlying reality.

  • Achieving differentiation with the little things

    Where the base of comparison is one set of outstanding lawyers versus another, velocity of timekeeping can have a considerable impact at the margins.

  • The next big thing: Consortium buying

    The “next big thing” that I would nominate for adoption in the legal ecosystem is the concept of consortium buying. Although not prevalent—yet—in the legal market, buying groups and purchasing cooperatives are very common in a variety of sectors.

  • E-discovery: What is the optimal model for corporations?

    According to Science Daily, 90 percent of the data in the world has been created in the last two years. That is a sobering statistic for corporations trying to control the cost and risk of their litigation discovery.

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