WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: As a believer in dashboards, I am excited to see this kind of focused collaboration that aims to enhance the reputation of the legal profession by doing something truly useful for clients. Bravo to those who are creating innovative ways to access meaningful data.

THE STORY: Law.com reports that a consortium made up of Am Law 100 firms, Fortune 500 legal-ops departments, alternate legal service providers and others is working to design “real-time metric dashboards to change how and when legal teams create and use client evaluations.” The initiative was launched by the international law firm Winston & Strawn LLP.

The author of the law.com article, Rhys Dipsham, contends that although evaluation surveys of outside counsel and other benchmark measurements are currently used on a very limited basis, such metrics will soon become a “pivotal” component of how law firms relate to their clients. The consortium launched by Winston & Strawn is a proactive step towards more widespread use of such metrics.

David Cunningham, Winston’s chief information officer and leader of the project, told law.com that “The goal of the project is to provide law firms with real time visibility into metrics that influence their clients’ legal buying decisions, allow them to compare themselves against existing industry benchmarks and give them a more automated way of creating metrics in the first place.”

One of the consortium’s first initiatives concerns diversity – where there is currently far too little data, Cunningham points out – but it is also studying how to provide information to law firms that relates to a range of other non-financial benchmarks, such as time-to-matter completion, that have been shown to influence clients’ decision-making when it comes to choosing law firms.

The scope of the project is truly mind-boggling. Cunningham said that the consortium includes “17 law firms and five corporate legal departments collaboratively designing 15 metrics dashboards, though the amount of participants and dashboards is likely to increase. Those currently active in the effort include representatives from law firms Mayer Brown, King & Spalding, Dentons US, Paul Hastings, and Wilson Sonsini as well as legal ops professionals from Google, Adobe, Oracle and Microsoft, among others.

“Beyond law firms and legal departments, the project also includes legal services companies LawVision and Elevate, industry organization Diversity Lab and legal tech provider Paladin, and Cunningham noted that ‘all are welcome’ in the consortium, including ALSPs and the Big 4. A list of other participants can be found on the project’s website.”

I INVITE YOUR FEEDBACK: I would be interested to know your thoughts on this or any other matter relating law firms and their management, either in the comments section below or or directly via email.