Work within the law department goes way beyond strictly legal matters. According to Aaron Pierce of CounselLink, information related to that work can be invaluable in optimizing your team’s performance. In this interview with CCBJ, Pierce, an industry veteran, provides insights on how to broaden data capture and analysis to improve performance.

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Barnes & Thornburg’s Jared Applegate discusses challenges and ideas for gathering and using data.

CCBJ: Both law firms and in-house law departments look to gain pricing certainty from a better understanding of data related to matters. What type of data should be focused upon?

Jared Applegate: From an in-house law department perspective and, frankly, from a law firm perspective, I think you always want to start with the end in mind. Ask these questions: At the end of the day, what business decisions will be driven by the capture and analysis of the data? Will that ultimately provide greater value/insights to my business unit leaders?  
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When you think of enterprise legal management (ELM) systems, you probably think about the ways they can make spend and matter management more efficient. But ELM systems are quickly evolving, becoming more comprehensive all the time, and today they can help optimize contract management, NDA creation and distribution, legal holds, legal service requests and much more.
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Thanks to ongoing technological improvements to enterprise legal management software, in-house operations are more efficient than ever. Dan Ruderman of LexisNexis CounselLink has worked in this space for decades and has seen the ways the broad implementation of legal spend management systems have helped attorneys become more focused – and helped law departments bring down their overall costs. His remarks have been edited for length and style.
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Managers of law departments (and of law firms) often believe that there is an identifiable connection between one set of numbers and another. Perhaps they sense that the size of the plaintiff’s law firm has some bearing on the cost of defending a lawsuit; they feel the number of patents applied for rises and falls with their company’s R&D investment; or they’ve noticed that client satisfaction scores relate to keeping close to budget. Fortunately, those types of subjective impressions of managers can be tested and quantified. 
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