When creating a vendor management process, consider these best practices.

Every company wants the best results from their legal partners, but when evaluating the performance of multiple outside law firms, it can be difficult to know where to start.
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Jonah Paransky of Wolters Kluwer’s ELM Solutions explains how law departments will deliver value with operational rigor. His remarks have been edited for length and style.

CCBJ: How has the corporate legal department’s role expanded beyond its traditional responsibilities?

Jonah Paransky: There are several key items worthy of notice. The first is there’s been a sea change in expectations for how corporate legal departments will operate.
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For 10 years now, the Blickstein Group, in cooperation with Consilio, has been surveying Legal Ops and other law department professionals, focusing solely on the operations function and seeks to provide benchmarks that are useful to the largest law departments. They have just completed the 2017 survey, sponsored by QuisLex, Exterro, Onit, Wolters Kluwer, Legal Decoder, iManage and HighQ, and the results are fascinating as always.
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The ambitious webinar hosted by Metropolitan Corporate Counsel on September 7 took on four big topics that were filtered through surveys primarily directed at legal operations departments. The topics were information security; analytics and artificial intelligence (AI); cloud adoption; and discovery and content management.
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Based on my research, during the past five years at least 90 different U.S. organizations published reports based on 190 surveys of U.S. law firms or law departments. That plethora of legal-industry surveys addressed a wide swath of management data. An analysis of the topics finds that compensation, e-discovery and outside counsel cost control were frequent topics, but all manner of other data inquiries were also carried out. The sponsors were primarily publishers, vendors of software or services, bar associations and consultants. At least half a dozen law firms and several trade groups also launched surveys.
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Clifford Barr is assistant general counsel, litigation and human resources, for Marathon Petroleum Corporation. In October 2018, the company merged with Andeavor, an integrated marketing, logistics and petroleum refining company where Barr has worked for 13 years. His job there changed dramatically about two years ago, when the company hired Kim Rucker as its new general counsel. Rucker had previously been general counsel at Kraft, where there was an established legal operations group. 
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