How to report on business as usual data and insights for your in-house legal team

Aug 16, 2023

Reading Time: 4 minutes

A legal function is essential to most organizations. Without it, many would lack the certainty to act at pace, or with a complete understanding of the potential risks they could be taking.

So, it’s not surprising that a core purpose of the legal function is supporting the day-to-day running of a business – turning around contracts and providing advice as requests come in. Another purpose of the legal function is to be a strategic partner on those bigger ticket items, when a crisis hits or a merger is to be decided, and it’s these purposes combined that drive legal’s ultimate impact on larger business outcomes.

But even if the legal team is achieving both to a high level, if you can’t report on it, how can the legal team be completely valued in doing so? How can a legal function bridge the gap between the purpose of its function and the ability to showcase its value and impact?

The answer to these questions lie in reporting on both legal’s business as usual (BAU) work and its impact on larger business goals.

In this article we share how to do the former – that is, what BAU data and insights are – and how a legal team can showcase its value and impact on the day-to-day running of the organization.

What is business as usual legal data and insights

There is a common saying that states ‘for something to be managed it needs to be measured’, and this saying applies when it comes to a legal function’s BAU work.

In order to achieve this, and therefore showcase the value and impact of legal to the business, its output, the BAU component of the legal team, needs to be visible.

Let’s take a look at a some examples of basic BAU data fields an in-house legal team could collect while completing day-to-day work:

  • matter name, type and ID
  • contract name, type and ID
  • the person or department responsible
  • date of the request and due date
  • date of completion
  • value, risk and complexity

With basic data fields, a legal team can surface insights such as average turnaround times, contract value unlocked, value of matters completed over time, and team performance. It’s this BAU data that begins to paint a picture of legal’s day-to-day work.

The value of legal business as usual data and insights for your in-house legal team

The value of collecting BAU data and insights is limitless, so we’ve compiled a few key areas highlighted in ‘The Connected Legal Function’ framework:

For starters, it becomes easier to identify patterns and behaviors in your legal team’s day-to-day work and allows you to proactively manage and make data-driven decisions. An example of this is when we surface insights around BAU work such as the (increased) number of matters per person over time, and the number of team members spending time on matters relevant to a specific department. With these insights you can make proactive and insightful decisions around resources, and to justify investment and spend in bringing more resources onboard.

On the other side of this, it enables you to showcase legal’s value and impact on the day-to-day running of the organization. For example, in generating reports that showcase contract value unlocked, the wider business can have visibility around financial gains realized by the legal function. This showcases that legal provides value to the business rather than simply being a dreaded cost center.

The best part is that no matter your ways of working, you’re likely to have a goldmine of data, meaning you can surface BAU data and insights. It just comes down to how easily the data is surfaced, and the extent of the picture (or visibility) you can showcase.

Curious about where to start with BAU reporting? Sign up for the Connected Legal Certification – it’s free and for all in-house legal professionals.
Learn more here

Collecting BAU data for legal insights and reporting

Most business functions surface insights to support weekly updates, quarterly reports, and annual performance reviews. And more often than not, the reports are made possible because the systems utilized are up to the task, allowing the business function to easily surface and share its BAU insights and reports.

When it comes to in-house legal teams, this isn’t always the case.

The 2023 In-House Legal Technology Report reveals that legal teams often work across an average of 4.1 technology solutions (known as point solutions) and spreadsheets. Meaning, legal teams don’t have the ability to easily access and surface BAU reports, or to create meaningful graphs and insights. It’s not surprising then that the report also showed that 30 percent of respondents spend three or more hours per day manually compiling reports.

For example, a point solution like a contract management system captures data that relates to contracts. But given that legal is much bigger than just contracts, you would need to look at each of your other systems to pull and combine data that’s representative of the rest of your legal team’s day-to-day work. What about data relating to outsourced matters or internal advice?  This means, what can be a simple task for any other team, like generating a report, can take significantly longer for legal, as they scramble across and dig deep within the depths of each system.

Fortunately, there is a better approach.

How to develop business as usual reporting with full visibility of your legal team’s day-to-day work

The alternative to relying on multiple systems to collect and generate BAU reports is to consolidate and unify your systems and workflows into a legal workspace.

A legal workspace enables reporting and visibility across all aspects of a legal function’s BAU work including contracts and matters, intake, and spend management.

This means that by consolidating your workflows into one system, you’re able to generate the full picture of your legal team’s function and purpose, and surface rich and meaningful insights too – just like the rest of the business.

Plus, starting your BAU data and insights journey with a legal workspace, you’ll be able to surface and utilize mature BAU data and insights to showcase the value and impact of your legal function over time.

Where to start with BAU data and legal insights to showcase value and impact

Join many other legal professionals learning about BAU reporting to showcase the value and impact of their legal functions, as part of The Connected Legal Certification.
Click here to get certified

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