• 30 Dec 2021
  • Reading time
    2 minutes

The top law department metrics that financial services companies are tracking [survey]

The top law department metrics that financial services companies are tracking [survey]

One of the key findings of our recent report – The Legal Spend Landscape for 2022 – was that most financial services organizations value their legal departments more today because of the pandemic. 

This makes sense given the uncertainty the pandemic created – and continues to create. Uncertainty brings risk and the law department’s primary function is to manage risk. The question that remains is this: how are these law departments measuring the value they deliver?  

We posed this question to the 300 decision-makers that took the survey on which the report is based.

According to the responses, the “outcome of legal matters” (66%) was at the top of the list. That was one of only two such law department metrics, out of a list of 12 options, to garner a majority of votes. Below is how the whole list stacked up:

  • 66% said the volume/outcome of legal matters;
  • 60% said the hourly cost per lawyer;
  • 46% said spend forecast vs. actual spend;
  • 43% said risk exposure;
  • 40% said overall spend by law firm/matter type/business unit;
  • 37% said legal spend as a percentage of company revenue;
  • 34% said external fee earner team composition;
  • 31% said matters kept within budget;
  • 28% said the mix of fees (e.g. billable hour, AFAs);
  • 25% said the total spend per in-house lawyer/law department employee;
  • 21% said the diversity of outside counsel; and
  • 19% said the proportion of legal spend internal/external.

Some respondents indicated they also track metrics that weren’t on the list and identified these in the open-ended comments: 

  • Cases won. “By showing the amount of cases they win.” ~ senior legal counsel at a hedge fund.
  • Volume. “We monitor and assess the transactions that the legal department handles.” ~ principal legal officer in asset management.
  • Revenue-generated by the legal department. “By defining the revenue it brings in.” ~ finance director in asset management. 
  • Discussion. “We have several meetings each month to discuss and manage the value it contributes.” ~ GC at a venture capital firm.
  • Time tracking. “We keep track of the hours and the projects we work on and categorize their success.” ~ finance director in asset management.


* * *

If there’s a metric to keep an eye on its diversity. A previous study we commissioned that was focused exclusively on private equity found diversity was a top factor in selecting outside counsel.

which of the following performance metrics does your legal department track or monitor?

Download the full report here: The legal spend landscape for 2022.


If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
7 pragmatic tips for selecting legal department KPIs 


Image credit: Unsplash



Alun Swift

Alun Swift

Head of Marketing & Revenue Operations

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